Monday, June 5, 2017

Where Do I Go to Complain?

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

The answer is, “It depends on what you are complaining about.”

If a roofing contractor is going door to door in your neighborhood after a storm, or if someone is walking around knocking on doors and soliciting, you should call your local police to report the incident. You can also report it to your state attorney general.

Various federal agencies deal with specific types of scams and frauds. The FBI, for instance, runs the Internet Crime Complaint Center. While it does not itself conduct investigations of claims, it refers them to the appropriate agencies. If you receive a phishing email or your computer is hacked or you are approached over the internet with a fraudulent scheme, this is where you would report it.

If the scam is conducted by postal mail, such as chain letters or fake sweepstakes “winner” announcements, report it to the Postal Inspection Service. This is also where you would report mail theft.

You will want to list your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. After your number has been on the list for 31 days, if you continue receiving unsolicited phone sales calls, you can report them. However, calls from survey firms, debt collectors, and registered charities are exempt from Do Not Call restrictions.

Report identity theft, romance scams, unwanted telemarketing, malware concerns, work-at-home schemes, abusive debt collectors and other types of fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. Your information will be pooled with other complaints to build a case against con artists. You should also report fraud to your state attorney general and local police.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intercedes on your behalf with companies that provide financial services, credit reports and payment cards.

Your credit card company or bank is where you would report lost or stolen cards (credit, debit, or ATM) as well as fraudulent use of the cards. Make a copy of the fronts and backs of all such cards, and keep it in a safe place. Contact information is usually on the card itself.

Graphic by iSkye Silverweb

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