How to Report Scam Emails

By Techwalla Internet Editor

Scam emails arrive in the inboxes of almost every person who has an email account. They are at best an annoyance and at worst a personal and financial disaster for those who are taken in by these scams. Reporting scam emails can help track down the criminals who send them and protect others from falling victim to them.

Step 1

Report any scam or unwanted email by forwarding it to the Federal Trade Commission at who will track down and prosecute the scammers.

Step 2

Contact the organization that the email scam purports to be from. Many scam emails appear to be from trusted organizations but often can implant software that will send passwords and other personal information to scammers. By reporting these emails to the organization, you can help them put a stop to these scams.

Step 3

Contact your Internet Service Provider, who can help stop scam emails from reaching you. Many have a way to forward these emails directly to them from your inbox.

Step 4

Protect your friends from scams by checking them out before forwarding anything to your email distribution list. Many sad or tragic sounding emails asking for money can easily be checked at Snopes. If it proves to be false, you can help stop the chain of scams by not sending them on to your friends.

Step 5

Educate others about scam email by describing your experiences on forums such as those provided on Craigslist, Yahoo, Snopes or Urbanlegends. If you've been taken in by an email scam, your experience will be especially helpful to help others.

Tips & Warnings

  • Learn what email scams are currently "going around" from the Federal Trade Commission's Website. You can also learn about chain email.
  • No financial institution, legitimate organization or government body will ever ask for your social security number, password or financial account numbers over email. Never provide this information over email.
  • Never clink on a link in an email that you suspect is a scam. They can lead you to Web pages that look legitimate but exist to discover your password or financial information.