Online Scams

How to report a scam website

Fraud isn’t exactly a recent innovation and as of the earliest recorded examples took place in 360BC. Merchant ships going down at sea was a common occurrence at the time and buyers assumed the risk for the shipment, meaning that the seller got paid even if the cargo never arrived.

A Greek merchant called Hegestratos decided to exploit this loophole and sent an empty ship to the buyer, with the plan of scuttling it before it reached the port. To cut a long story short, the plan went horribly wrong and Hegestratos ended up drowning instead of making a sneaky fortune. This might make you think that crime doesn’t pay but the statistics would suggest otherwise.

Ships don’t feature much in the plans of modern day fraudsters but online fraud is a growing criminal industry. Criminals naturally gravitate to places where they can find victims – and online crime is one of the fastest growing areas of fraud.

What sort of online fraud should you worry about?

Phishing is a common form of online fraud and Email phishing is the most common version of phishing. Anywhere that people are spending money is a potential target for crime. Online retail is an obvious target for criminals, taking the form of fake websites or website “spoofing.” Other types of website scams can include everything from work-from-home scams to auction fraud.

How do you report it?

If you happen to stumble across a scam website, you should always report it. Even if you weren’t taken in by the scam, your action could stop other people from stumbling into the same trap. If you were the victim of a scam, it can be embarrassing or distressing to admit it but coming forward can help to stop the criminals responsible from preying on other people.

  • If you lost money, then you should contact the police to notify them that a crime has taken place. Always report a scam to your local police station rather than using the emergency contact number and provide as much details into how the fraud took place.

  • If you think that a company has acted unfairly or broken any laws, you might be able to pursue legal action by reporting them to Trading Standards office. This could be an option if you feel that a company misled you or sold you fake goods. 

  • If you were conned by a scam website posing as a legitimate business, it may be worthwhile to contact the company in question. It may not resolve your problem but at least they might issue a warning about the fake site. 

  • If you are planning to report a scam, it’s obviously beneficial to have as much information as possible. Keep a record of all the details in relation to any fraud that may have taken place. Take a note of the URL, the names and email addresses of anyone who made contact with you, and the dates and details in relation to any money that was lost.

    Helping to catch the people responsible or stopping their scam from hurting other people is unlikely to get your money back but at least it will give you some sense of satisfaction.