Crime Watch

Crime Watch: Here’s how to report Internet scams


Special to The Miami Herald

When I wrote about Internet scams a few weeks ago, many of you asked me what law enforcement was doing, especially the FBI, since these are federal crimes. Although many of us know not to fall for these, there are people that still do.

So I turned to our partner at the FBI — Jim Marshall, a public affairs specialist for the FBI’s Miami Office, who provided me with the information below. There are ways to report these people, and this information will not only tell you how and there is no doubt in my mind that the FBI takes these crimes super-seriously. So please read carefully and keep this information for future reference.

Here’s what Jim had to say:

Have you ever received an email from the Director of the FBI stating that you are the beneficiary of a large sum of money? Unfortunately, you are not alone. This is a scam used to carry out an online fraud scheme. If you receive an email like this, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is an alliance between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the FBI. IC3’s mission is to address crime committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet crime, IC3 provides a convenient and easy way to alert authorities of a suspected violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies, IC3 offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet crime, affords information to quantify patterns, and provides timely statistical data of current trends.

Internet crime is defined as 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 include advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.

Crime on the Internet is on the rise. According to IC3’s 2012 report, complaints of Internet crime increased 8.3% over the previous year with almost 290,000 consumer complaints resulting in losses exceeding $500 million. Florida ranks second behind California in the amount of reported Internet Crime with over 18,000 complaints and over $34 million in losses. The majority of Florida’s complaints are from consumers age 40 or older.

If you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), you will receive an email containing your complaint ID and password. This email will contain a link to an area on the IC3 website where you can view your complaint, and also provide additional information to be added to your complaint. Trained analysts review and research each complaint, disseminating information to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for criminal, civil, or administrative action, as appropriate.

Report Internet crime. This is the only way law enforcement agencies will be able to get a full picture of the level and type of crime being conducted.

For more information, visit

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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