(Last Updated On: April 13, 2022)

Understanding Law Enforcement

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight

Confusion About Law Enforcement

Thank you Vianey Gonzalez of SCARS|Latinoamerica for asking this question

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Law enforcement agencies around the world have the mission of accepting reports from victims, investigating crimes, and arresting alleged criminals. That is their job regardless of which country they are in.

There are also, different levels for their agencies of public security. There are local, state or provincial, and national. They can also have specializations, such as anti-terrorist, financial crimes, regulatory offenses, etc.

EUROPOLEuropol The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organized crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states. The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from authorities in the member states. Based in The Hague, it comprised 1,065 staff as of 2016. WEBSITE LINK

In the case of EUROPOL – this is a police – law enforcement agency of the Council of Europe – in other words, Europe acting as a country has a national police force called Europol, as well as a national Justice agency called Eurojust. Each member country in the European Union also has its own local, regional, and national police agencies with jurisdiction in its country.

This is one of the unique things about Europe – it acts as a single country in many ways, and there is no equivalent anywhere else.

When reporting a crime in Europe, it is not (generally) reported to Europol because Europol is NOT a first responder – each country provides that role on the local level. Some crimes, such as cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. are reported at the regional or national levels, only the most serious crimes go directly to Europol.

Europol does have a central information resource with EC3 – https://www.europol.europa.eu/about-europol/european-cybercrime-centre-ec3 but it is not a replacement for local/regional/national law enforcement – in that way it is very different from IC3.gov which is the FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud.’s reporting portal.

Agencies like the FBI, Secret Service, RCMPRCMP The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) // Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC)), colloquially known as the Mounties, and is the federal and national police service of Canada, providing law enforcement at the federal level. The RCMP also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces (all except Ontario and Quebec) and local policing on a contract basis in the three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon) and more than 150 municipalities, 600 Indigenous communities, and three international airports. The RCMP do not provide active provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec. However, all members of the RCMP have jurisdiction as a police officer in all provinces and territories of Canada., etc., are also national law enforcement.

INTERPOL

Interpol is NOT a law enforcement agency. It is a coordination clearinghouse for information about crimes to its member countries.

It collects information and shares it between the national agencies that are members of Interpol. In this capacity, it is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization.

Interpol does not investigate crimes. It has no police officers. Though it does coordinate with police agencies around the world in specialized ways to aid them in doing their work.

Crimes are not reported to Interpol by the public – they are not a first responder.

FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov – FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Similarly but different, in the United States we have several agencies that have specific regulatory authority. One of those is the FTC.

Reporting to the FTC: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS

The FTC is also not a law enforcement agency – exaction, though sometimes they are more like one. They do accept complaints, and they do investigate, but then the similarity with law enforcement ends. To enforce the law they go to court – usually civil court at the federal level to obtain judgments and orders – many times those will be enforced by police if needed.

They will also act as a clearinghouse for complaints and routing criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. issues to other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI/DoJ, Homeland Security, Secret Service, SEC, etc. The FTC plays well with others, unlike the FBI. In this way, they are similar to Interpol and to Europol.

The U.S. has a couple of hundred such agencies like the FTC – such as the FCC, EPA, and so many that you need a directory. Each has its regulatory mandates.

The value of the FTC as a reporting agency is that they distribute complaints where they need to go. Other agencies do not – it begins and ends in their databases – such as IC3.gov.

Summary

Understanding what law enforcement is or is not is central to being able to take effective action again online criminals.

SCARS publishes a directory of these agencies at https://romancescamsnow.com/reporting-entity-directory/

It is important that you understand what resources are being provided to you to help you make informed decisions about your actions.

Please be very careful of accepting factual information from anyone that is clearly not an expert in these subjects.
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