As part of my research resources and newsfeeds, I receive the AARP Bulletin. It was in the January/February 2017 that I came across Sid Kirchheimer’s article entitled “Report that Fraud: Where to file complaints and what will happen then” in his “Your Money Scam Alert” column. It provided an excellent overview of a variety of websites where consumers can report fraud issues.
Kirchheimer lists the activities that occur once you file your complaint. We encourage you to read the article directly. In the interim, let me share some highlights we gleaned by visiting some of these resources on this topic.
1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
We have written about the Federal Trade Commission frequently at MoneyBasicsU. It is an extremely valuable resource for consumers. It is packed with educational topics, articles, and video. The return for the time you invest in becoming a student of the FTC’s articles and videos means protecting your identity and personal finances. As it applies to today’s discussion of reporting fraud and filing complaints, let me provide a couple of factoids from their website not discussed in Kirchheimer’s article.
√ The FTC directs you to a FTC Complaint Assistant that walks you through the file complaint process.
√ Watch the FTC video How to File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
√ Watch the video Why Report Fraud? for an understanding of why consumers should report fraud.
2. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
I’m guessing that some of you may not be familiar with this resource – the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center. This is the website where consumers report fraud that has occurred on the Internet.
√ Check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the website.
√ Review the list of Internet Crime Prevention Tips, which essentially provides ideas for how consumers can prevent Internet fraud. It contains 17 separate types of Internet fraud to avoid.
√ See the list of Internet Crime Schemes to be aware of and avoid.
3. U.S. Postal Inspection Service
One area where fraud occurs that consumers should be familiar is within the U.S. Postal system. Their website stated that if you believe you have been a “victim of fraud related to the U.S. Mail, including mailed sweepstakes, lotteries, on-line auctions, work-at-home scams or chain letters,” you should file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
√ Take a look at the form that consumers reporting fraud related to mail should submit.
√ Refer to a list of numerous mail fraud schemes that fall under: Employment Fraud, Financial Fraud, Fraud Against Older Americans, Sweepstakes and Lottery Fraud, Telemarketing Fraud, and Other Types of Mail Fraud.
√ Check out the Fraud Prevention Videos (9 in total) and the Don’t Fall For It radio shows with Postal Inspector Mike Carroll from Chicago.
We have only highlighted three of the five resources to file a complaint to report fraud discussed in the AARP Bulletin. Each of the above websites provides a lot of content related to its specific issue of fraud. Today’s Post is one of those blogs that do well for review and the setting as a favorite for future reference. The best approach to fraud is educating oneself about it to avoid it and have a preparation plan in place should you become a victim. We agree with you. The volume of knowledge needed today to stay ahead of the curve can be a bit overwhelming. Remember to take knowledge building one step at a time!
We encourage you to also share today’s Post with friends and colleagues.
Tips to Read:
If you did not link through to the AARP Bulletin article referenced above, you can read the article here.
Take a few moments to review the USA.gov website. It has a section devoted to how to file complaints. Specific categories include:
√ Complaints against local and federal agencies
√ Consumer complaints
√ Consumer complaints by product type
√ Sample complaint letter provided