Avoid Internet Fraud and Scams
Consumer Protection Agencies
A joint project of consumer protection agencies from 17 nations.
Federal Trade Commission
Education is a key tool to prevent consumer injury. In this section of our website, you’ll find publications with
advice on avoiding scams and rip-offs, as well as tips on other consumer topics.
Better Business Bureau
About The Better Business Bureau System
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) system in the U.S. extends over 98% of the nation; coast-to-coast, and in
Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.
Since the founding of the first BBB in 1912, the BBB system has proven that the majority of marketplace
problems can be solved fairly through the use of voluntary self-regulation and consumer education.
The BBB's Core Services include:
- Business Reliability Reports;
- Dispute Resolution;
- Consumer and Business Education; and
- Charity Review.
National Consumers League
Our mission is to identify, protect, represent, and advance the economic and social interests of consumers and
workers. The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on
marketplace and workplace issues. We are the nation's oldest consumer organization.
NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns
including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
As one of our country’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies, founded by Benjamin Franklin, the United
States Postal Inspection Service has a long, proud and successful history of fighting criminals who attack our
nation’s postal system and misuse it to defraud, endanger or otherwise threaten the American public. As the
primary law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is a highly
specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.
Cross-Border Fraud Trends
Consumer Sentinel is a secure automated consumer complaint
database developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in cooperation with its law enforcement partners, to collect and make available investigative information about consumer fraud and deception. Currently, the Consumer Sentinel database has over a million complaints received by the FTC and other data contributors. The collected investigative information is accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the United
States, Canada, and Australia through a secure, password-protected Web site. Between January 1999 and December 2002, more than 100 organizations contributed data to Consumer Sentinel. More information on this joint project is available at Consumer Sentinel.
Internet and Marketing Fraud
The NFIC is the only nationwide toll-free hotline for consumers to get advice about telephone solicitations and
report possible telemarketing fraud to law enforcement agencies. In 1996, the Internet Fraud Watch was
created, enabling the NFIC to offer consumers advice about promotions in cyberspace and route reports of
suspected online and Internet fraud to the appropriate government agencies.
Work at Home Schemes
You can find ads like this everywhere - from the street light and telephone pole on your corner to your newspaper and PC. While you may find these ads appealing, especially if you can't work outside your home, proceed with caution. Not all work-at-home opportunities deliver on their promises.
Many ads omit the fact that you may have to work many hours without pay. Or they don't disclose all the costs
you will have to pay. Countless work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place
newspaper ads; make photocopies; or buy the envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment you
need to do the job. The companies sponsoring the ads also may demand that you pay for instructions or "tutorial"
software. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars, in addition to their time and energy.
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
IFCC's mission is to address fraud committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet fraud, IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels, IFCC offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud, works to quantify fraud patterns, and provides timely statistical data of current fraud trends.
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