Internet Security

How to Report Email Fraud and Spam to Authorities

Ben Stegner Updated 03-07-2020

Email spam is an unavoidable nuisance of online life. And while your email provider probably does a good job of filtering out junk, you might wonder how to report email fraud if you receive a particularly shady message.

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Let’s take a look at how to report email fraud to the proper resources.

Reporting Fraud to Government Authorities

First, we’ll look at what government agencies you should report fraud to, based on where you live.

Where to Report Email Fraud in the US

If you receive a fraudulent email and live in the United States, you can report it to both the FBI and the FTC.

For the FBI, visit the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center). There, you can file a complaint. Click the FAQ link to see some details about what a complaint entails. The page is intended for people who have been victims of online crime, but you can fill out the details even if you haven’t fallen for anything.

Next, you should also consider filing a complaint with the FTC. Select a category from the left side and walk through the steps to put your report into the correct category.

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FTC Complaint Form

Finally, you can also report email fraud to your state’s consumer protection office. Visit USA.gov’s State Consumer Protection Offices page to find the information for your state.

How to Report Email Fraud in Canada

Residents of Canada should head to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s Report fraud page. This will walk you though reporting what happened.

Note that you’ll need to sign in with an approved partner account (such as a bank) or create a new GCKey account.

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How to Report Email Fraud in the UK

If you live in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre asks that you forward phishing emails to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service: report@phishing.gov.uk.

You also have the option of reporting it to Action Fraud using the online form.

Reporting Email Fraud in Australia

Those in Australia should head to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch form.

Reporting Email Fraud to the Impersonated Company

While it’s a good idea to let the appropriate authorities about email fraud, it’s not the only step you can take. Agencies like the FBI probably won’t respond to what you file using their forms, and they can’t help you recover money if you handed it over to scammers.

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If you receive a fraudulent email pretending to be from a certain company, you should report it to the real company. You’ll find contact info for most businesses on their website, and some have a dedicated email address for forwarding fraudulent messages.

For instance, Amazon’s suspicious communication page has instructions for reporting scam messages. It asks you to forward fraud emails to stop-spoofing@amazon.com. PayPal requests that you forward fake emails to spoof@paypal.com.

Hopefully, the company in question can have a team look into the specific scam in an attempt to shut it down. If many people report it, they’ll be more likely to start investigating.

Report Email Fraud to the Email Provider

The last step of reporting scam emails is to let the email service know. Companies like Google and Microsoft don’t want malicious users taking advantage of their services to rip people off.

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Most email services have an option for reporting phishing messages, as well as options to report accounts that break the rules. Let’s look at a few of the most popular ones.

How to Report Fraud in Gmail

In Gmail, you can click the three-dot menu to the right of any message and choose Report phishing. This will remove the email from your inbox and report the danger to Google.

Gmail Report Phishing

If the fraudulent email came from a Gmail address, you can also use the Gmail abuse reporting form. This helps Google investigate people using the service for illicit means.

How to Report Email Fraud to Yahoo

Unfortunately, Yahoo Mail doesn’t have simple reporting tools like Gmail does. You can mark an email as spam in your Yahoo Mail account, but there’s no option to report fraud or phishing.

Yahoo’s help pages direct you to Yahoo Support to report security issues, but at the time of writing, this wasn’t working properly. Your results with it may vary.

How to Report Email Scams in Outlook

If you use Outlook on the web, open an email and select Junk > Phishing > Report to let Microsoft know about the problem.

Outlook Report Phishing Email

Microsoft has a dedicated email address for reporting phishing. Create a new email message and drag the scam message into it to add it as an attachment. Then send the message to phish@office365.microsoft.com so the company can take a look.

Microsoft also has a special page for reporting tech support scams.

The Reality of Email Fraud

If you receive a particularly nasty phishing email, it’s wise to report it using the above channels. Doing so will increase the chance that authorities take action against it.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to be optimistic about this. Due to the nature of email fraud, it’s very difficult to shut down scammers who use this method. The email provider may be able to cut off someone’s access, but that won’t stop them from opening another account and continuing on.

With just an email address to go on, government authorities probably won’t be able to shut down a scam operation. Email addresses are disposable, and the scammers can use VPNs and other methods to hide their location so you can’t trace the email How to Trace Emails Back to Their Source IP Address Here's how to trace that email back to where it came from... and why you'd want to do it! Read More .

This is why gift cards are such a common method of payment for scams. Compared to wiring someone money, gift card codes are essentially impossible to trace. As a result, requesting payment via gift cards is one of the telltale signs of phone scams 7 Telltale Signs You're on the Phone With a Scammer Thieves use all sorts of phone scams to rip you off. Here are some telltale signs that you're talking to a scammer on the phone. Read More .

If you or a loved one ever fall victim to email fraud, you can use these methods to explain what happened and hopefully get help. But in most cases, that money is gone. That’s why it’s vital to stay up-to-date on current scams and know how to spot email phishing.

The best defense against email fraud is a healthy caution of everything you receive.

Report Email Fraud When You Can

We’ve seen where you can report email fraud to government agencies, companies, and email service providers. Making more people aware of fraud is important, but it’s also very difficult to shut down scam operations before they pop back up.

If you also get similar messages on your phone, find out how to report spam text messages Here's How to Report Spam Text Messages If you receive unwanted SMS messages, here's how to report spam texts and fight back against texting spam. Read More next.

Related topics: Email Security, Email Tips, Online Fraud, Phishing, Scams, Spam.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Ron
    January 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    You have links on this page that are not correct or not a real reporting agency. The one in question I am referring to is the link to the Korean email that is not a valid address. I would like to report these criminals but to where? This is a Bit coin extortion scam and needs to be reported.

  2. Daniel
    October 9, 2018 at 2:08 am

    JV Zoo marketers are notorious for being spammers. I am having the experience of having bought something from one of them and then unsubscribed from their constant emails. But this guy ignored my unsubscribed action and then continues sending me daily spam. And now, his emails have no more unsubscribe link.

    I suspect he collects a list all those who unsubscribed and puts them into a spamming list and continues to spam them from then on.

    Let me repeat, the offenders usually come from JV Zoo or initially market their stuff on JV Zoo.

    JV Zoo themselves is a pretty prolific spammer and they send emails of all kinds of internet marketing junk products every few days or at least weekly. But I believe they honor unsubscriptions.

    Those that continue sending spam even after you unsubscribe, and maybe even sell off your email to other spammers, those are the WORST kind.

  3. dani
    June 28, 2017 at 8:40 am

    " I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve introduced on your post. They are very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post. "

    abcd.com

    • gershon Shapiro
      May 2, 2018 at 1:19 am

      keep getting a bunch of emails daily from one particular site which every time I block one others keep popping up in droves they re all from the same website when I try to contact them to tell them to cease & desist it comes back undeliverable. the worst part they are not all adv for one company it's for multiple companies any idea how to stop it? already block many of them but new ones keep coming to my inbox & don't want to have to initially block every email as I use it for business replies & communication as well as personal

  4. Cleta
    June 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm

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  5. hiroo
    November 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I am,getting lots of scams in my yahoo mail,this guy called donald wood who uses the yahoo mail threatned to call the police over the E mail if I send one more message! I even had a call from the FAKE IRS in washington DC we will file a lawsuit against you! I even had prank calls from nigeria and area code 646!

  6. baragan
    July 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

    sec_help@consultant.com this email is asking money from my end using my past investment in american stock

    .From: SEC HELP [mailto:sec_help@consultant.com]
    Sent: Monday, 11 July 2016 2:38 PM
    To:
    Subject: Fw: Absolute Clearance and Final document for your account

    Mr.

    I am now resending this email dated 7th July 2016 Thursday. Please check and need you to advise when you can be able to settle your last and final obligation wherein all monitoring agencies already cleared your U.S. Account. I hope that you can finalize your account once and for all and get your funds and close your U.S. Investment Account.

    Sincerely,

    David Powers
    Securities and Exchange Commission

    Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2016 at 5:05 AM
    From: "SEC HELP"
    To:
    Subject: Absolute Clearance and Final document for your account
    Mr.

    As what we have discussed over the telephone, attached herewith the absolute clearance coming from all monitoring agencies here in the U.S. pertaining your investment account and Final Release documents. This final documents proves that your account was cleared to any of restrictions and options and ready for final redemption. The only thing that you have to settle is the final and last obligation not to the U.S. government but to the process of the release of your funds to the assigned transfer agent and bank that will facilitate this final release. Please advise when you can be able to settle this final obligation amounting to $12,903.00 and have the prepared assigned transfer agent for your reference.

    Thank you and best wishes.

    Sincerely,

    David Powers
    Securities and Exchange Commission

  7. Hannelie
    March 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I am trying very hard to report a website from Hong Kong for spam and abuse: http://www.kiyagroup.com/ as they use various mail addresses that I block and report on a daily basis just to receive another bloody spam mail from them. How do I permanently block Mr Allen and these spammers and fraudsters advertising company registrations (possibly illegal)???

  8. Rene
    February 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I guess Germany - the report spam address - mailbox@datenschutz-berlin.de - is being rejected - probably too many spam reports:
    This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

    Delivery to the following recipients failed.

    mailbox@datenschutz-berlin.de
    Anyone know of another source? 1und1 (1and1) is the biggest offender today

  9. hiren
    December 22, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Where can we report such scams in India ?

  10. anti-scam.org
    November 20, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Just to let everyone know, the web site http://www.ClubWhiteSmile.com based in Frederiksberg
    Denmark is actually the base for a phishing scam as follows.

    1) While using your browser to visit any web site of interest, you may unexpectedly see a second web page being displayed.
    In this phishing case it was a fake advert for the Telus telephone company based in Canada.
    The web page looked genuine and was offering customers an IPAD 6 for the paltry sum of $1.99.

    2) If you elect to buy the IPAD you are asked to enter your VISA account number etc.

    3) Once ClubWhiteSmile has your VISA number they will fraudulently bill you for $119 for one month’s subscription services which, of course you, never actually asked for.
    4) Regrettably, if you contact VISA and explain the situation, VISA will NOT remove the bogus billing! Pathetic isn’t it.
    Please pass the word around. Thxs

  11. J. Parker
    February 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    My Virgin Mobile Account website is fraudulent and it's certificate is issued by Verizon. My phones have been high jacked as well as my laptops. Can anyone tell me how to fix the phones?

  12. Kyle
    February 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I See 2 completely useless posts, mine would make it 3. Freedom of speech Tyrone sorry, and Antimicrosoftcop your post doesn't even make sense.

  13. KKKK
    February 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

    there is a website from a company called Thonra Oil & Gas in UK which is a fraud webpage & mail from them is total scam

  14. Martin
    April 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    what an irony that MakeUseOf writes about mail spamer. I once registered to you website and I get every single day a spam mail from that registration. Luckly I can proof that the spam comes from u cause I always use mail+websitetoregister@myadress.com when registering to any webservice. Maybe I have to send those mails to a anti fraud organisation you mentioned ^^

  15. Martin
    April 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

    what an irony that makeuseof.com writes about mail spamer. I once registered to you website and I get every single day a spam mail from that registration. Luckly I can proof that the spam comes from u cause I always use mail+websitetoregister@myadress.com when registering to any webservice. Maybe I have to send those mails to a anti fraud organisation you mentioned ^^

  16. tinytox
    March 27, 2010 at 2:02 am

    I called the "guardia Civil" one of our police forces here in Spain to report a spam attempt with phone calls from China and was told well, don't fall for it -- they didn't take any information on the scammers

  17. tyrone
    March 20, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Why is Nigeria used as the photo ad for this sort of post. This is very insulting and humiliating to Nigeria as a whole. I'll appreciate if this photo is urgently removed. Thanks

  18. AntiMicrosoftCop
    March 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Hello to all here !
    Sorry,but I will be a bit off topic :(
    Hey mates.Thank you for the posts in this webpage.
    But,now after more than 2 years your way of posting is not
    the "lite" good pages that you could even print without any
    problems.This has gone away now unfortunately.
    You have loaded your webpages so HEAVY that it takes
    "minutes" with a slow connection.. to load a page.
    But what makes me dislike it,is that now I cannot print
    the pages wich contains info somewhat useful.As you understand folks this brakes down all your efforts
    to bring to the public what they like !
    Maybe is time for you here to do what youtube is doing with
    the "lite" service that are not heavy-loaded.
    And,consider please to add a print-friendly way for your
    pages here.
    I`ll be watching sometimes what you have to do about changing or not the way you`re posting here.
    Respect.And do not stick every so on at MAC comp.
    Consider Linux more instead..what ? windows ? no way mates ......................................................
    I personaly hate so much micro$oft that you have no idea.
    But I can do exactly nothing to stop them at their money-grabbing industry.
    Anyway,this is another case.....
    See ya all ! ;)

  19. Aarne
    March 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    For Estonia right authority to report Spam is Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate. Their e-mail address is info@aki.ee. They work slowly but if you happen to have problem with Estonian spammer it’s the right place to start.

  20. msolution
    March 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Theres another good site which keeps track of 419 scams, which is worth a visit, http://www.aa419.org,

  21. Kenneth Lam
    March 7, 2010 at 4:49 am

    HONGKONG's OFTA is not responsibile for the SPAM EMAIL. All the email sent to them regarding SPAM EMAIL will be replied with a official reply telling you to consult other professional body.

    OFTA is one of the department of HKG and they act like most of the other departments ... do less and have done less things wrong.

  22. msolution
    March 7, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Theres another good site which keeps track of 419 scams, which is worth a visit, http://www.aa419.org,

  23. Scott
    March 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Excellent information. If we would all take the time to report these guys, maybe we could make it unprofitable and not worth the hassle. Take a look at my last blog post - "The Day I Spanked a Spammer".

    Scott