Have you been scammed by a website? While it seems unbelievable that scammers can get away with using the world wide web to trick others, it happens all the time! You don’t have to be on the dark web to encounter a scammer or hacker, as they dwell amongst us. Scammers create phishing websites, breach respected company’s URLs, and steal your information using malware or even through real websites that charge your credit card but don’t give you the goods or services you paid for! This is why it is important to know how to report a scam website!
How to Report a Scam Website
This is how you can report a scam website in hopes of recouping lost funds or preventing the site from taking advantage of others.
Guess who cares about scam websites: The U.S. Government! If you think that you’ve been scammed, complete each of the following steps and get closer to finding justice!
1. Collect Your Evidence:
How do you know that you were scammed? Since you will typically report the crime through the web, make sure that you collect and compile any evidence or proof that you have about the scam or the fraudulent website.
A written description of what happened
Screenshots showing fake accounts or fees
Fake Website information
Proof that points to a hacker, scammer, or thief.
Any related police reports
If you have some information about a scammer and need more details, search by name, username, phone number, email address, or more at Social Catfish!
2. Review Your Evidence:
Just because you thought that a link in an email directed you to an official or trusted website doesn’t mean that it did! Scammers send out emails that show a web URL that is different than the “hyperlink” (the website you’re actually sent to) they direct you to. Use your mouse or track to hover over the website name or link (if it was via email, in a message, or on the web) and notice whether the web URL is different than you expected. If it is, don’t click again (since the link redirects you to a phishing or fraudulent site) but save it for the report you will be filing.
3. Report the Scam:
Who you report the scam to depends on the type of scam….
- Your Bank or Financial Institution If you can, put a stop payment on any fraudulent charges or ask your bank or credit card to reverse stolen monies.
- Your Local Government & Police Services Your next shop should be your state’s consumer protection office. Report the scam, here (https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer) and also file a police report. While your local police may not pursue the website themselves, the report will help to escalate the situation and may afford you protection against fraudulent charges.
- The Federal Government Report the scam to the IC3 and help protect others from being scammed. The government helps consumers by looking for patterns and tracking serious or frequent scams. While the government may not get your money back, they can take legal action against a company or even take a stance that changes an entire industry! Go to the Federal Agency Directory here and begin your report.
Coronavirus, Disaster, and Emergency Scams
Sadly, scammers strike even during disasters and pandemics! If this is the time of scam that you encountered, the U.S. government recommends that you report fraud of this type by contacting the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721 or by filling out their online form.
If you have been one of the many people tricked by COVID-19 scams, fake stimulus check scams, or EDD scams, let us know in the comments.
While scam websites use phishing and malware, they may also put you on their scammer hit list and attack your bank or financial accounts. Once a hacker or scammer has your information they can steal your identity (social security number, driver’s license, etc.) and open fake credit cards in your name. Whether you were scammed by a website or also by phone, email, computer support via a romance scam, it’s time to keep yourself safe on the web.
Perform a comprehensive safety check of your name and personal details at Social Catfish and keep your private details safe from hackers and scammers today.