How do I report someone to the FBI online?

There are many situations where reporting suspicious or criminal activity to the FBI can help protect public safety and national security. The FBI encourages citizens to report threats, crimes, or suspicious activity to help them detect, investigate, and prevent illegal actions. With the rise of the internet and online communications, the FBI now provides an easy way for people to submit tips and reports securely online. Filing an online FBI report can assist law enforcement in uncovering threats and stopping crimes before damage occurs. The FBI handles reports on matters like terrorism, cyber attacks, child exploitation, and organized crime rings. By reporting concerning individuals or activities through the proper channels, the public aids critical FBI efforts to keep the country safe.

When to File an FBI Report

There are several situations when it is advised to file a report with the FBI, including:

  • Threats of violence – According to the FBI website, don’t hesitate to report suspected threats of violence or other crimes. The FBI advises not putting yourself at risk by investigating yourself. Promptly report any suspicious activities to the authorities.
  • Ongoing or past crimes – If you have information about a crime that has occurred or is still happening, you can report it to the FBI online or by phone even if you were not a direct witness. This includes things like fraud, cybercrimes, human trafficking, terrorism, and other federal offenses.
  • Terrorist threats or activity – Any potential threats, plans, or intelligence related to domestic or international terrorist groups should be promptly reported to the FBI to aid prevention and investigation efforts.
  • Civil rights violations – Violations of federal civil rights statutes should be reported, such as hate crimes, excessive force by police, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and voting rights abuses.

How to File an FBI Tip

To file a tip or report a crime to the FBI, the process is straightforward and can be done entirely online:

1. Go to the FBI’s online tips page at https://tips.fbi.gov/. This is a secure form specifically for reporting federal crimes or terrorist activity.

2. Fill out the online form with as many details as possible about the situation or individual(s) you are reporting. You can choose to remain anonymous or provide your name and contact information.

According to the FBI, “You provide whatever information you feel comfortable with: your name and your telephone number, or you can send us a tip anonymously” (Inside the FBI’s Internet Tip Line).

Important details to include are:

  • Names and descriptions of individuals involved
  • Locations, dates, and times of events
  • Any evidence or documentation you can provide

The more specific details you can give, the better the FBI can investigate the tip.

Information to Include

When submitting a tip to the FBI, you should provide as many details as possible about the incident or crime you are reporting. Key details to include are:

  • Names and contact information (if known) of all people involved in the incident
  • Location of where the incident took place, including the address and city
  • Date and time of when the incident occurred
  • Specific details about what happened during the incident

Providing names, contact information, and specifics like location and timing enables the FBI to follow up on the tip and gather further information related to the event or individuals involved. The more precise and comprehensive your tip, the better the FBI can look into the matter. Only share information you know to be true and do not speculate or exaggerate details. Stick to the facts as you know them when detailing what occurred.

According to the FBI’s Electronic Tip Form, you should focus on providing “as complete a description as possible” when submitting a tip online or by phone.

Follow Up After Reporting

After submitting an online tip to the FBI, you may be contacted by FBI personnel for additional details or to clarify the information you provided. According to the FBI’s Inside the FBI’s Internet Tip Line video, FBI analysts may follow up with tipsters via phone if they require more information to pursue a tip.

You can also call the FBI directly to follow up on the status of your online tip. However, keep in mind that the FBI receives thousands of tips and may not be able to provide immediate updates. Be prepared to provide your tip number or other identifying details when calling to check on your report.

It’s important not to discuss your FBI tip with others, as this can compromise the investigation. Maintaining confidentiality allows the FBI to effectively follow up on leads without alerting potential suspects.

Other Reporting Options

There are other ways to report information, tips, or suspected criminal activity to the FBI besides filling out the online form or calling the tip line number:

  • Call or visit your local FBI field office – There are FBI field offices located across the United States that you can call or visit in person to report information. You can find your nearest field office by searching on the FBI website.
  • Submit a tip via email or physical mail – You can email [email protected] or write a letter to FBI Headquarters or your nearest field office to submit your tip. Be sure to include as many details as possible.
  • Use the FBI tips app – The FBI has a mobile app called FBI Tips where you can submit photos, videos, and tips securely from your smartphone or tablet. The app is available on both iOS and Android.

Regardless of how you choose to submit your tip to the FBI, make sure to include as much detailed information as possible about the event, people, locations, and times involved.

Anonymity and Confidentiality

When you file a report with the FBI, you have the option to remain anonymous. According to the FBI Tips and Public Leads website, you do not have to reveal your identity when submitting a tip online or over the phone. However, the FBI notes that it may be helpful for them to have your contact information in case they need additional details.

The FBI states that they will work to protect your anonymity and confidentiality. However, they caution that your identity could be revealed during ensuing court proceedings if your tip leads to a case. So while the FBI promises not to voluntarily release your name, it may become known through the legal process if you are required to testify.

In summary, tips can be anonymous but the FBI may request contact information. The FBI aims to protect confidentiality but identities could be revealed in court if the tip leads to prosecution and testimony is required.

What Happens After Reporting

After you submit a tip to the FBI online or by phone, the FBI evaluates the credibility and urgency of the information provided (FBI, n.d.). Tips regarding immediate threats to life or property will be prioritized accordingly. The FBI further investigates credible leads regarding criminal activity or threats to national security.

Depending on the nature of the tip, the FBI may conduct additional investigative activities such as interviews, surveillance, background checks on subjects, and collaboration with other agencies. However, the FBI does not disclose details about ongoing investigations or provide status updates to tipsters (FBI, n.d.).

While the FBI reviews every tip, they may not initiate a full investigation based on the limited information provided in a tip alone. Tips that point to valid concerns but lack enough detail may be filed by the FBI for potential future reference. Overall, the main sources of information supporting an FBI inquiry come from court-authorized investigative methods.

References:

FBI. (n.d.). Electronic Tip Form. Retrieved from https://tips.fbi.gov/

Monitoring Your Tip

After submitting a tip to the FBI, you may want to follow up to check on its status or find out if any action was taken. Here are some things to keep in mind:

You can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) to ask about the status of your tip. However, the FBI may not be able to provide much information due to confidentiality reasons.

It may take some time for your tip to be evaluated and acted upon, depending on the severity of the issue and amount of tips the FBI is handling. Less urgent matters may take longer to be addressed.

In many cases, the FBI cannot inform tipsters of the outcome or if any action was taken based on the tip. This is to protect the integrity of investigations and confidentiality of those involved.

If you do not receive any response after some time and still suspect illegal activity, consider submitting another tip with any additional evidence or information you may have gathered. Persistence can help in getting attention on serious matters.

While not ideal, you may need to accept that you likely won’t get confirmation if your tip led to an arrest, charges, or prevented a crime. But having patience and providing as many details as possible can increase the chances of your tip being deemed valuable.

Conclusion

In summary, if you have information about concerning threats, criminal activity, or national security matters, it is important to report it to the FBI. The most effective way to submit a tip is through the FBI’s online form at tips.fbi.gov. Include as many details as possible about the issue, such as names, dates, locations, and why you believe it merits FBI attention. You can submit your tip anonymously if preferred. The FBI reviews all reports and will follow up if they need additional information.

The FBI’s tip lines and online forms provide an important channel for people to report issues that may affect public safety or national security. If you observe concerning behavior or have reason to believe a threat exists, take action by promptly submitting a tip. The information you provide can help the FBI detect, deter, and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity.