Report Scam and Fraud: Summarized information from the police

In the last few weeks and months, I have repeatedly scrutinized sites that steal data, lure people into subscription traps or otherwise support fraudulent activities. There is information about scam sites that lure with online shop returns here and here. There are also sites that offer free product tests and try to persuade visitors to subscribe to magazines or other products: here. As part of my research, I asked consumer advice centers and the police what can be done with regard to such sites. I summarized the information here: Report fake shops and scam sites – Here's how! The following is specifically about tips from the police.

Fraud on the Internet through scams, phishing, subscription traps, fake shops, ransomware and more: Here you will find information from the LKA Sachsen on protection against fraud and on reporting suspicious websites.
Fraud on the Internet through scams, phishing, subscription traps, fake shops, ransomware and more: Here you will find information from the LKA Sachsen on protection against fraud and on reporting suspicious websites.

Use scam and fraud reporting portals

According to the information I received via email from the State Criminal Police Office of Saxony, there are various private and non-profit portals where one can report fraudulent websites and fraudulent activities on market websites. These were given to me as examples:

  • For bitcoin fraud through scam, ransomware, blackmail, etc.: bitcoinabuse.com (English language platform)
  • For fake online shops and fraudulently used eBay accounts: auctionhelp.info (The first point of contact for eBay problems should of course be eBay support!)
  • For warnings about fake online shops: onlinewarnings.com 
  • For a wide variety of topics of this type: consumer protection centers via Verbraucherzentrale.de or alternatively the offer of Verbraucherschutz.com 
  • For criminal charges or preventive policing: online state guards or local precinct

A website cannot simply be deleted

With regard to the "take down" from fraudulent sites, I have received the following explanations:

However, the aforementioned portals do not take care of a shutdown of these pages, which can only be done via the hosting provider. Likewise, the pool authorities responsible for the assignment of IP addresses IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) or RIPE NCC (Ripe Network Coordination Centre) do not worry about the link between the IP address and the website name (domain), the so-called DNS entry, being deleted.

Private individuals or companies whose identities, names or protected logos have been misused can contact the respective hosting provider, preferably through a lawyer in the sense of an injunction, in order to have the pages deleted.

The police have other options if a criminal complaint has been filed and after examination there is an initial suspicion of a criminal offense or preventive police action must be taken to delete the pages or the DNS entry.

How can I protect myself from fraudulent sites?

My request and the response from the LKA also dealt with preventive protection against fraudulent websites. In doing so, e.g. B. called the fake shop finder of the consumer advice center, which I have already presented to you in the article linked at the beginning: Verbraucherzentrale.de/fakeshopfinder-71560. The following tips were also given:

  • The spelling of the URL (Internet address in the address field of the Browsers) carefully, as scammers sometimes use similar-sounding URLs to impersonate a site
  • Be wary of offers that are “too good to be true” – before spending money, disclosing dates and/or entering into a contract, a healthy dose of skepticism is advisable
  • A security feature is an SSL security certificate, which is shown in the "s" of https in the URL and is indicated by some browsers with a lock symbol (but it is not the only sign of a secure site; fraudulent sites can also use an SSL certificate have)
  • The contact details on the website must be checked, e.g. B. the imprint and the information contained therein - missing important information or is it unclear, then maybe something is fishy
  • If fraud is suspected, the website should be reported to the police and the providers; if a company, shop or bank is impersonated, this entity should also be reported 

Do you have any additional tips for protecting against fraud on the Internet or for dealing with fraudulent sites that have been found? Then leave a comment with your experiences and tricks!

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2 Responses to “Reporting Scam and Fraud: Summarized Police Information”

  1. “If fraud is suspected, the website should be reported to the police and the providers”

    But first you have to be able to identify the provider. Not easy.
    Try this for “Draht-esel.com” for example.

    1. I think you're right. I think that can currently only be determined with a police investigation. Otherwise, as a normal user, you no longer have access to this information. When people use a CDN, that's the last thing you "see". But you don't have the hoster yet. In your example, with the terminal command “host -t ns draht-esel.com” I unfortunately only see that Cloudflare is in the DNS. But anyone can use it – no matter which hoster they have.

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