On Your Side Alert: Internet Crime Complaint Center

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you've ever received one of those phishing or scam emails, you may have wondered "how do I report it?" There is an agency that will investigate those annoying emails. It's called the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3.gov.

Jenny Shearer with the FBI says online thieves are not going away anytime soon.

"It is something that we are going to have to deal with for a long time. Now more so than ever, we are connected to the internet in ways that we were not in the past," she explained.

Hopefully, you've never been fooled, but if a suspicious email pops up in your inbox, you can file a report with The Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov. The site launched in 2000 and is a collaboration with the FBI and The National White Collar Crime Center.

"Some complaints submitted to the IC3 can become FBI cases but not every complaint ends up being worked by the FBI," Shearer said.

The complaint form will take you several minutes to complete. You will have to fill out information like your name, email address and phone number. Then provide a description of your complaint. You can do more than just file a complaint, you can also take a look at some the of the most common scams and get tips on how to protect yourself.

One thing to keep in mind, just because you file a complaint doesn't mean you will get a response from the FBI.

"You may not hear anything else. It takes time for the complaints to be reviewed and analyzed and categorized," said Shearer.

Just because you don't get a reply doesn't mean investigators are not paying attention. They compile the complaints and share them with agencies across the country to watch for trends.

"If the complaints receive a certain threshold, the IC3 may elect to issue a public service announcement on its website," she said.

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