Fraud is pervasive, and fraudsters are bold and shameless. If you have been scammed by a door-to-door solicitor or ripped off by a shady contractor, contact your local police and your state attorney general or district attorney. For other types of scams refer to the following list of federal watchdog agencies. Depending on your issue, you may need to involve several of these, plus local authorities.
Federal Watchdog Agencies
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
This is the agency to contact to report identity theft, abusive debt collectors and most types of fraud. Once you file a complaint, you will be provided with a reference number that you will use when contacting the agency for updates to your case. The FTC does not respond back to you or work to resolve your individual case. However, your complaint will be entered into a database that the FTC and civil and criminal enforcement agencies use to track the patterns of scams and build their cases against perpetrators of scams. Always report your complaint to your state’s attorney general and local law enforcement in conjunction with filing your FTC report.
NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
This site is for reporting unsolicited sales calls. Once you add your phone number to the registry, after 31 days you can report unwanted calls. Your information will be pooled to help catch violators. This site only addresses sales calls. Legitimate charities, survey firms, political candidates and debt collectors are not included in Do Not Call rules.
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU
For complaints about shady business practices and suspicious financial products. This includes loans, bank services, ID theft, credit reporting, debt collection and payment cards. The CFPB directly forwards complaints to the company, which has 15 days to respond and 60 days to resolve. For credit cards, bank ATM cards and debit cards that are lost, stolen or used fraudulently, contact the issuer directly.
INTERNET CRIME COMPLAINT CENTER
Internet based scams, including online auctions, investment and sales fraud, hacking and phishing, internet extortion and scam emails should be reported to this agency, which is operated by the FBI. The IC3 does not directly investigate claims, but it does forward complaints to the appropriate regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
Report mail theft as well as scams distributed by mail, such as chain letter schemes, deceptive advertising, bogus lottery and sweepstake winnings.