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How to File a Complaint Against an Internet Website

by Eleanor McKenzie

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the first stop for people in the United States wishing to complain about a website. It handles any complaints related to Internet fraud and scams, identity thieves and hackers. It is essential that Internet users make complaints; otherwise, the number of Internet crimes may grow. In addition to the FTC, other organizations also handle complaints about spam, phishing and cybercrime.

Federal Trade Commission

Filing a complaint with the FTC is a simple online procedure, with clear guidance about what complaints are accepted, why making a complaint is important and what information you need to submit. A Spanish-language version of the site is also available. The FTC points out all complaints help them to investigate and prosecute companies. Your complaint is stored in the FTC's Consumer Sentinel secure database, used by law enforcement agencies worldwide. The FTC also provides a link to econsumer.gov, where you can make complaints about online transactions with foreign Internet companies.

Spam and Scams

If you wish to make a complaint about spam emails, you can forward them to the FTC. You can also forward scam emails to the FTC, such as those asking for your help in getting money out of a foreign country, offering work-at-home schemes, debt consolidation and miracle cures, amongst others. You can also send complaints about these to your state attorney general's office. Internet security advisers OnGuard Online suggest you contact your local U.S. Secret Service field office if you have replied to one of the money transfer scams and lost money through it.

Phishing

Phishing scams try to get personal and financial information from Internet users. Along with taking safety precautions such as ensuring your antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software are updated regularly, you can forward suspected phishing emails to the FTC and to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. This is a consortium of Internet service providers, security and financial organizations that uses your complaints to fight this form of cybercrime.

Consumer Websites

It is fairly simple for anyone to set up a website selling products and services. Protect yourself by checking out the company's physical address, read product descriptions carefully and never send the site your financial details via email. If you have a complaint about the products or service, initially try to resolve the issue with the business owner. If that is unsuccessful, make a complaint to the FTC and the state attorney general. If you are not sure where to file a complaint, go to consumeraction.gov.

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