Custom Search

The Fraud Aid Library

Choosing the right law enforcement agency

to file your scam report


Jurisdictions Menu


Navigating the system

Definition of jurisdiction

Definition of fraud with intent 

Jurisdiction specialties 

Inter-jurisdiction challenges 

Inter-jurisdiction cooperation 

The cost of a fraud investigation   

Helping to defray the expenses of a fraud investigation at no cost to you

The biggest obstacle for investigators

Understanding fraud evidence that demonstrates intent 

Losses to a group of scam victims

Your role as a scam victim or someone who has knowledge of a scam being perpetrated on others



Local Enforcement:

US city, borough, or township

County sheriffs

State enforcement:

State Attorney General's Office

State Attorney's Office

Office of the Secretary of State

State's Bureau of Investigation

State Securities Commission

Federal Enforcement:

Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI

Secret Service

US Marshals

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Federal Trade Commission FTC

Securities & Exchange Commission SEC

Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division IRS

Overseas & International Enforcement:


Scotland Yard  

The UK's Serious Fraud Office 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP - Mounties)

The National White Collar Crime Centre of Canada (NW4C) 


Secret Service Overseas  

FBI Overseas


Internet Fraud Complaint Center 

Internet Better Business Bureau

National Fraud Information Center  

SEC Internet Enforcement Program





Work at home job scams: Payment Processing, Shipping, Check Writing, Western Union, MoneyGram, more...


Lottery Scams


YOUR CHECK LIABILITY: How to really verify a check, money order, traveler's check, cashier's check, etc.

Your ID Theft Prevention To-Do List

Threats from scammers: What to do and how to do it








WHERE TO REPORT A SCAM: Choosing the right jurisdiction

Intro: Page 1 - Page 2

Law Enforcement Jurisdictions:

US City, Town, and County  US State  US Federal  Foreign & International  Internet




Whether you are a fraud victim or someone with a suspicion of or direct knowledge of a crime, understanding where and how to report your knowledge will save you time and worry.  The scam or other crime you report in a well-constructed manner can lead to the righteous arrest and conviction of a person who is causing a storm of financial destruction and misery.

Sometimes it means contacting your local enforcement, and sometimes not.  It's always advisable to obtain a list of the enforcement agencies in your country along with the types of crime each agency covers.

Law enforcement works pretty much the same everywhere and attitudes are fairly consistent so we strongly advise you read through the Introduction to learn how to cope with process and procedure when addressing law enforcement officers.

This page:

Definition of jurisdiction

Definition of fraud with intent

Jurisdiction specialties 

Inter-jurisdiction challenges

Inter-jurisdiction cooperation

The public cost of a fraud investigation


  • You can contact any law enforcement agency anywhere in the world to report a fraud.  That doesn't mean you will be heard. 

  • Not every law enforcement jurisdiction investigates fraud. 

  • Some jurisdictions only investigate certain frauds over certain loss amounts.

  • This guide will lead you to the right place or places to report fraud.


jurisdiction definition

ju'ris'dic'tion (jo̵or′is diks̸hən) noun

  1. the administering of justice; authority or legal power to hear and decide cases

  2. authority or power in general

  3. a sphere of authority

  4. the territorial range of authority

  5. a law court or system of law courts


The definition of fraud with intent

The definition of fraud can vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Here is the basic rule of thumb:

Intentionally manipulating, persuading, or misleading a person through lies and half truths, to the purposeful detriment of that person and to the personal benefit and profit of the manipulator.

Manipulation and persuasion are acceptable so long as they are used for the benefit of the person who is being manipulated or persuaded, for instance to help a child avoid bad choices or to set someone up for a surprise party.

Advertising manipulates our feelings about a product or service, but that is not a scam unless the product or service is represented to do more than it does or can do (misrepresentation).



Jurisdiction specialties

There are many types of Federal law enforcement and local police offices.  They do not all investigate the same kinds of crimes; however, their sphere of authority often overlaps and this causes confusion for fraud victims.

For instance, both the FBI and the Secret Service investigate bank fraud, cyber fraud, and money laundering.  The Securities and Exchange Commission plus individual state commissions and Secretaries of State all investigate securities frauds.

It can be very hard to decide where to file your complaint and how many jurisdictions will be interested enough in your complaint to investigate it.  The trick is to understand each jurisdiction's current priorities, an easier task than you may think.

This section of the Scam Solution Center will guide you toward deciding where and when to file your complaint.


Inter-jurisdiction challenges

What takes place in one precinct, county, state, territory, or country will not automatically be investigated by enforcement in another precinct, county, state, territory, or country.  Statutes (laws), priorities, viewpoints, practices, attitudes, affiliations, cultures, and the entire local or national justice system can be totally different from area to the next.

Cross-border investigations are particularly challenging because they can involve different languages on top of the other challenges.

Inter-jurisdiction cooperation can be a nightmare for the officers or agents involved and for fraud victims.

Many scammers are aware of this, operating in multiple jurisdictions to make investigation difficult.

For instance, you - the victim - live in Anytown, Florida.  The criminal lives in Outer Slobovia.  Who has jurisdiction?  You can report the crime to your local police or to a Federal field office but neither of those jurisdictions has any authority in Outer Slobovia, whose law enforcement may or may not be willing to lend a hand in apprehending the villain.  Frequently - not.


Inter-jurisdiction cooperation

The United States has established several enforcement agencies to handle cross-jurisdiction crimes within its borders.  Some countries have also established agencies for this purpose, some have not.

Inter-agency cooperation can be as problematic as relations between special interest groups or even family members.  Just like a sports team, budgets and promotions are based on wins. 

Getting credit for an arrest is very important to both the investigator and the office in which the investigator works.

In American slang, making an arrest is called a "collar."  The first detective or agent to get the case is called the "lead" detective or agent.

Even when an investigation is run by more than one investigator, credit for a collar may primarily go to one investigator and/or to the lead investigator while the other investigators are credited with participation.  Investigation teams may also share the collar. 

A good arrest record makes everyone in that office or department look good, leading to larger budgets, higher pay grades, and and an envious reputation.

The arrest credit counts for even more when the criminal charges "stick," meaning the arrest led to a successful conviction.

While this all makes for a competitive atmosphere, when inter-jurisdiction cooperation does occur it's because the individual participating investigators are all angry about the criminal for the same reason, bringing them together as unit focused on a common goal. 

Since most officers joined the force because they hate crime, and since detectives by their vey nature enjoy solving puzzles, inter-jurisdiction teams are frequently very successful even though it means the credit is spread very thin.


The cost of a fraud investigation

A white collar crime investigation costs Federal law enforcement agencies anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 in man hours, and that's for any easy investigation. 

Our local, state and Federal taxes pay for those investigations, and unless we are willing to withstand a huge tax increase, the money simply isn't there to spend $100,000 on a $4,000 loss.

That's why nearly every jurisdiction has a loss threshold that can run from $100,000 to $500,000 or more.  This means that the enforcement office cannot afford to open a file for an individual loss that is less than its threshold amount.

The cost of a fraud investigation can be so prohibitive that some local Sheriff and police offices do not investigate fraud at all.


 ▲Back to top








We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.  In our experience, the information and guidance offered on this site have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

If you have doubts about Fraud Aid, Inc. do not hesitate to contact federal enforcement (FBI, Secret Service, RCMP), Scotland Yard, or local law enforcement to check us out.

Information provided about lotteries and lottery scam: Fraud Aid, Inc. is not affiliated with any pay-to-play or free online lottery or Sweepstakes games and derives no income from any pay-to-play or free online lotteries or Sweepstakes or any of their participating sponsors with the possible exception of a sponsor's independent advertising unassociated with any drawings promotion; nor does Fraud Aid promote or sponsor any lotteries or Sweepstakes or numbers drawing of any kind.

Reporting, crime-fighting, and victim resource links

Title books image from

Topic image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Copyright 2000 - 2015 Fraud Aid, Inc.  -  All Rights Reserved

Privacy Policy Disclaimer  Spam Policy