How to Report a Hacker & Contact Authorities

Hackers and cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, posing significant threats to individuals and organizations. Fortunately, avenues are available to report these malicious activities and protect oneself from further harm. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to report a hacker, where to file police reports or legal reports, and the importance of being vigilant in the face of cyber threats.

Related: What to Do if Your Identity Has Been Misused or Stolen

Related: How to File a Consumer or Privacy Complaint in Your Country

Identifying and Documenting the Hack

Before reporting a hacker, gather as much information as possible about the incident. Key elements to document include:

  • Date and time of the hack
  • Method of attack (e.g., phishing, malware, unauthorized access)
  • Details about the hacker, if known (e.g., username, email address)
  • Type of information compromised (e.g., personal, financial, intellectual property)
  • Any other relevant information

Once you have documented the necessary information, it’s time to report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Each country has a different way of tackling the problem. Below is a guide for each country on reporting the hacker to law enforcement.

Reporting Cybercrime in the United States

Department of Justice
Depending on your circumstances, the DOJ website has comprehensive information about who you need to contact. | Source: Department of Justice Website

In the United States, how you report cybercrime depends on what crime you report.

  • Local Police: For immediate assistance or if you suspect the hacker is someone you know personally, contact your local police department. They can help guide you through filing a report and determining if further action is required.
  • FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): If the hack involves online fraud, scams, or other cybercrimes, file a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov. This federal agency gathers and analyzes data on cybercrime and works with law enforcement agencies nationwide to combat these threats.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): If the hack involves identity theft or other consumer-related issues, report the incident to the FTC at www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC provides resources and assistance to identity theft victims and helps track criminal behavior patterns.
  • Department of Justice (DOJ): You can report copyright infringement, hacking, and other severe cases through the DOJ website. They provide a contact list for various branches of law enforcement depending on the specific crime committed.
  • econsumer.gov: If you have a consumer complaint, such as misleading advertisements or shady actions by an online store, you can file a complaint at econsumer.gov. This site handles complaints surrounding online stores and sellers, both in the US and internationally.
See also  Preparing for the Future of Cybercrime

State-Specific Resources and Support

While cybercrime is often handled at the federal level, some states offer additional resources and support for victims of hacking and other cybercrimes. Check with your state’s Attorney General’s office or Department of Justice to learn about available resources and initiatives.

  • State Attorney General’s Office: Many state Attorney General offices have divisions dedicated to consumer protection, which may include support for victims of cybercrime. Contact your state’s Attorney General’s office to inquire about resources and assistance they may provide.
  • State Cybercrime Units: Some states have established dedicated cybercrime units within their law enforcement agencies. These units specialize in investigating and prosecuting cybercriminals. Contact your local or state law enforcement agency to determine if a cybercrime unit exists in your area.
  • State-Sponsored Cybersecurity Resources: Some states provide cybersecurity resources, such as guides, alerts, and training materials, to help residents and businesses protect themselves from cyber threats. Visit your state government’s website to find any available resources.

Reporting to Affected Businesses and Financial Institutions

Contact the affected businesses or financial institutions immediately if the hack has compromised sensitive financial or personal information. This may include:

  • Banks and Credit Card Companies: Report any unauthorized charges or account breaches and request new account numbers or cards.
  • Credit Bureaus: Contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This alerts potential creditors that your information has been compromised and requires them to take additional steps to verify your identity.

Reporting Cybercrime in the UK

Action Fraud UK
In the UK, you can report cybercrime via the Action Fraud websites. | Source: Action Fraud

In the United Kingdom, the Crown Prosecution Service offers advice on what to do if you’ve witnessed or been the victim of a cybercrime. For urgent matters, call the police on 101. You can also report crimes through the Action Fraud website.

See also  2021: A Year in Cybercrime

For more serious cybercrimes, such as those involving children, report them directly to the Internet Watch Foundation. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing online child abuse. You can make a report on their website to have abusive images or videos removed from the web.

If you fall victim to cybercrime and need post-incident support, visit the Victim Support website. They offer a list of local branches you can contact for assistance.

Reporting Cybercrime in Canada

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
Canada’s cybercrime services are relatively well-centralized compared to some countries. | Source: Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

If you’re based in Canada, contact the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. The centre provides resources for reporting various online scams and abuses, as well as a point of contact for serious cybercrime cases.

For cases involving the exploitation of children, Canada has the Cybertip service, which allows anonymous reporting.

Reporting Cybercrime in Australia

Report Cyber - Australia
In Australia, most cybercrime is handled by the Australian Cyber Security Centre. | Source: Australian Cyber Security Centre

In Australia, cybercrime can be reported via ReportCyber, an Australian government-run service. They provide online forms for both individuals and businesses, or you can contact your local police by dialing 131 444.

Reporting Cybercrime in the EU

Europol - Cybercrime Directory
Europol keeps a comprehensive database of who you must contact depending on your location within the EU. | Source: Europol

Europol’s website can help you report a crime regardless of your country within the EU. Each member state includes websites, email addresses, or telephone numbers for reporting cybercrime.

If you’re concerned about cybersecurity, contact us, and we’ll help you.

Featured image by Midjourney and Jonas Borchgrevink.