The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has heard it all. They know that crooks are cooking up new scams every day and that vulnerable people fall for them and lose billions of dollars each year. Consumer Reports revealed that 27 million people lost nearly $8 billion to telemarketing scams alone in 2015, the most common being a phony call from the Internal Revenue Service demanding immediate payment of taxes and fees. So what can you do when this happens to you?
File a Complaint
Once you have been duped, it may be very difficult to get your money back, but it is still important that you report the problem to the FTC. By doing so, you will help the agency track common scams so that they can investigate and warn others. The FTC has made it very easy to report problems—from an annoyance complaint to an outright crime—through its interactive website, the FTC Complaint Assistant. There, you will be asked to choose one of the following categories and a sub-category for your complaint:
Scams and rip-offs: counterfeit checks; imposter scams; prizes, sweepstakes, or lotteries; and romance scams.
Telemarketing: unwanted telemarketing phone calls, texts, or emails.
Mobile devices and telephones: devices, services, plans and contracts, and billing.
Internet services, online shopping, computers: internet service providers, online auctions, internet gaming, children’s online privacy, social networking, online retailers, malicious computer viruses, and general hardware/software concerns.
Education and jobs: for-profit schools, online classes, scholarship programs, multi-level marketing plans, pyramid schemes, and fake employment opportunities.
Credit and debt: credit cards, loans, mortgages, payday loans, credit reporting, and debt collection agencies.
Once you have chosen the best category for your complaint, you will be asked to provide information about the product or service, how much money you lost, and give a detailed account of what happened. While the FTC does not resolve individual complaints, by reporting the problems, you will receive information on what your next steps should be to try to resolve the issue. There may be another agency to contact—including the police—and they may advise you to contact a consumer attorney to assist you in your fight to resolve the issue and get your money back. If you are in need of a consumer attorney in Virginia, contact The Consumer Law Group, P.C.