Being scammed out of money or being a victim of any sort of fraud can be frustrating, to say the least. But it happens more often than you think—and more and more crooks are making their way onto the internet to find their victims. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), American consumers reported losing north of $5.8 billion in 2021 to fraudsters, which is a whopping 70 percent increase from the year before. And that is just the fraud that is reported; many victims never come forward because they are embarrassed or ashamed that they fell for various types of scams.
Millions of Consumers Frauded
According to the FTC, scams involving imposters were the most common in 2021, but not the costliest. Investment scams cost more overall, just from a dollars-and-cents perspective. Nearly 2.8 million consumers filed fraud reports with the FTC in 2021, with the typical loss reported of $500. (Notably, this did NOT include reports of identity theft and “other” types of fraud, which accounted for 1.4 million and 1.5 million additional reports, respectively). Around 1 in 4 people who reported scams to the organization reported losing money to the scammer.
So, what can you do if you have fallen victim to a scammer?
Report the scam and the scammer. Don’t be embarrassed to have become a victim of an unscrupulous scammer. Reporting the scam and the scammer can help you prevent the scammer from pulling the same scam on others.
Talk to your state’s attorney general. Report the incident to consumer protection agencies at the local and state level, and be sure to file a report with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If the scam occurred online, let the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center know.
Discuss your issues with federal authorities if the fraud you experience is a violation of federal law. The FTC or other federal agency might be able to investigate, which can light a fire beneath the scammer’s feet.
Reach out to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to report incidences of investment fraud. FINRA is sometimes able to help victims recover some of their losses through various venues such as arbitration.
While it is true that scam and fraud victims generally find themselves unable to recoup their losses, by reporting the scammer or fraudster to as many authorities as possible, you can help put them out of business.
Legal Options for Victims
The odds of legal redress are in your favor if you work with an attorney who deals with fraud on a regular basis and who can help you hold the at-fault party in your case responsible for their actions. Whether you are the victim of identity theft, check fraud, tax return fraud, credit card fraud, investment scam, or other fraudulent action, it is important to not only report the incident but also reach out to Sharmin & Sharmin P.A. to decide on the best course of action moving forward. Schedule a consultation with us by filling out our online form or calling 561-655-3925.
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