When a consumer becomes a victim of fraudulent activities by a business or individual, one of the first things he or she wants to do is report the crime. Luckily, it is relatively simple to report scams or fraud to the proper authorities. This is not to say that victims of scams and fraud will have their situations rectified easily, as that is most often not the case. The actual reporting of the scam though should be easy.
However, there appears to be a new scam out though that is re-victimizing the consumers by charging them to do what the victims can do just as easily themselves. The problem begins when consumers go online to find where to report the case of fraud. When they search for where to report these scams they are not led to the correct sites, but imposters which charge for free services. When someone is defrauded there are a few different ways that a person can report the crime. Of course, it will depend on just what the scam was, but the first step is usually to report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers can do this by visiting the FTC’s website and filling out a fraud affidavit, which they can then print out. The FTC’s website can be found at www.ftc.gov.
Though many people would assume the place to go is to the police, many police stations will not, and are not required to, take a report on scams and fraud. Therefore the FTC is the best place to go to report the fraud or scam. Consumers must remember though that the FTC is not a law enforcement agency and will not be able to refund money, time or otherwise compensate victims for their losses.
There are other places to report scams and fraud for free which can potentially help law enforcement in the future or other individuals from falling for the scams. Consumers can report to their local Better Business Bureau which again, is completely free. The Better Business Bureau will never charge you for filing a complaint against a company or individual and it is easy to file online at www.bbb.org. If the crime was committed using the internet, it can be reported to The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, at www.ic3.gov. The IC3 is great at compiling information for use in law enforcement and reporting to them is free as well.
The bottom line is that while being the victim of a scam or fraud is painful and can be expensive; reporting it to the correct authorities is not. Consumers need to be aware that any company that is asking them for payment to report a scam or fraud online is taking advantage of their situation and re-victimizing them.