Frequently Asked Questions
Prior To Filing A Complaint
- Q: Who should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)?
You may file a complaint with the IC3 if you believe you have been the victim of an Internet crime or if you want to file on behalf of another person you believe has been such a victim.
- Q: What details will I be asked to include in my complaint?
The IC3's ability to process your complaint will be based upon the accuracy and completeness of the information provided. The following is the type of information we ask for in the complaint form:
- Victim's name, address, telephone, and email
- This will be your information if you are the victim, or another person if you are filing on behalf of a third party
- Financial transaction information (e.g., account information, transaction date and amount, who received the money)
- Subject's name, address, telephone, email, website, and IP address
- The subject is the person/entity allegedly committing the Internet crime
- Specific details on how you were victimized
- Email header(s)
- Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint
- Victim's name, address, telephone, and email
- Q: How does the IC3 define Internet crime?
Internet crime includes any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as websites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.
- Q: Can I file a complaint if I am a citizen of the United States but have been victimized by an individual or company outside of the United States?
If either the victim or the alleged subject of the Internet crime is located within the United States, you may file a complaint with the IC3
- Q: Can I file a complaint if I have been victimized by an individual or company in the United States, but I am not a citizen of the United States?
Yes, if either you or the alleged subject of the Internet crime is located within the United States, regardless of citizenship, you may file a complaint with the IC3.
After A Complaint Is Filed
- Q: What happens after I file a complaint?
Trained analysts at the IC3 review and research the complaints, disseminating information to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for criminal, civil, or administrative action, as appropriate.
- Q: When will I be updated on the status of the investigation of my complaint?
After you file a complaint with the IC3, the information is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. The IC3 does not conduct investigations and, therefore, is not able to provide the investigative status of a previously filed complaint. Investigation and prosecution is at the discretion of the receiving agencies.
- Q: Will I be informed that my complaint was received successfully?
Once you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), you will receive the following message at the top of your filed complaint:
Thank you for submitting your complaint to the IC3. Please save or print a copy for your records. This is the only time you will have to make a copy of your complaint.
- Q: How do I cancel my complaint that I filed?
Once a complaint has been filed with the IC3, it cannot be canceled.
- Q: Should I retain evidence that supports my complaint or send it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)?
IC3 does not collect evidence regarding complaints. While you may cut and paste information into your complaint (e.g., email headers), you must be sure to keep all original documents in a secure location. In the event that a law enforcement or regulatory agency opens an investigation, they may request the information directly from you.
- Q: What type of information would possibly be considered evidence in regard to my complaint?
It is important that you keep any evidence you may have related to your complaint. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Canceled checks
- Credit card receipts
- Money order receipts
- Certified or other mail receipts
- Wire receipts
- Virtual currency receipts
- Pre-paid card receipts
- Envelopes (if you received items via FedEx, UPS, or U.S. Mail)
- Pamphlets or brochures
- Phone bills
- Printed or preferably electronic copies of emails (if printed, include full email header information)
- Printed or preferably electronic copies of web pages
- Hard drive images
- PCAP files containing malicious network traffic
- Network, host system, and/or security appliance logs
- Copies of malware
- Chat transcripts and/or telephony logs
Keep items in a safe location in the event you are requested to provide them for investigative or prosecutive evidence.
- Q: : Can I file a complaint if I have been threatened over the Internet via email, chat room, website, etc?
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police.
- Q:What should I do if I believe my complaint is time sensitive?
After you file a complaint with the IC3, the information is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. As investigation and prosecution is at the discretion of the receiving agencies, please contact local law enforcement directly if you believe your matter is time sensitive.
- Q: Where should I submit information relating to possible terrorist activity?
To submit possible terrorist information, please visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website and submit a tip.
Disclosure of Information
- Q: What information can the Internet Crime Complaint Center provide regarding the legitimacy of a company?
The IC3 cannot provide information on a specific company. The IC3 serves as the FBI's central repository for the collection of Internet crime complaints.
- Q: What information can the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provide if I think that a complaint has been filed against myself or company?
The IC3 is not a resource available to the general public for answering questions arising from the complaint information it receives. IC3 does not release information about specific complaints and/or the resolution of those complaints. Therefore, IC3 is unable to provide you with such information.
- Q: Is there an email address I can forward SPAM emails that I receive?
- The IC3 does not have an email address established for the receipt of such information. When filing a complaint at the IC3, be sure to copy and paste the entire email, including the header information, in the complaint.
- Q: Who do I contact if I am a member of the media wishing to speak with a member of your press office?
Please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Press Office, FBIHQ, Washington, D.C., (202) 324-3691.
- Q: Where can I find out about employment opportunities with the Internet Crime Complaint Center?
For employment opportunities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), please visit the FBI's website.