11 Ways to Report Financial Fraud

Sharing this information during a crisis or in advance can reduce some stress and confusion.

By Linda Hildebrand 

Being a victim of financial fraud is tough on most people but it can be especially trying for seniors, as this companion piece points out. According to the FBI, older victims are often unaware of who to contact and many fear their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their own financial affairs.

Sharing resources with clients, families and anyone you know can be a big help. The American Bar Association offers a list of agencies to report different types of financial fraud crimes, including:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes consumer complaints about any financial product or service, including banks and lenders. It gets the victim’s written complaint and attached documentation to an executive office at the financial institution. Since January 2022, when the No Surprises Act went into effect, the CFPB also handles complaints about some medical bills, such as unexpected emergency services and their unfair debt-collection practices.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency oversees national banks and federal savings association. Its HelpWithMyBank.gov website provides consumer information. Victims can upload attachments to its online form or write a letter and mail it with documentation to Comptroller of the Currency, Customer Assistance Group, P. O. Box 53570, Houston, Texas 77052.
  • Finra, self-regulatory organization overseen by the Securities & Exchange Commission,  takes complaints about brokerage firms through a form on its website. Its special Securities Helpline for Seniors is 844-57-HELPS (844-574-3577). Its BrokerCheck Hotline, (800) 289-9999, will look up the background of a broker or investment advisor or representative. The main Finra phone is (301) 590-6500.
  • The FBI’s IC3, Internet Crime Complaint Center, reviews victim reports of fraud on the internet to refer to appropriate federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for possible investigation. File a fraud report, including mortgage and loan fraud, on its “tips” form. The website lists local FBI field office locations and its toll-free number, 800-CALLFBI (225-5324).
  • The Federal Trade Commission urges report of any type of consumer fraud, including mass-marketing fraud, at its Consumer Help Line, 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357). The FTC uses victims’ experiences to enforce federal consumer protection laws against fraud, deception and unfair business practice. The FTC also enforces federal antitrust laws that cause higher prices, fewer choices and less innovation.
  • The U.S. Justice Department’s Fraud Task Force work extends to bank, mortgage and other loan fraud and discrimination; securities and commodities fraud; retirement plan fraud; mail and wire fraud; tax crimes; money laundering; False Claims Act violations; and unfair competition.
  • The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has an online form and a consumer hotline, (866) 366-2382 or TTY (202) 418-5514, to report suspicious activities in futures, commodity options or foreign currency trading fraud.
  • The IRS takes reports of identity theft to defraud taxpayers of their IRS refund. Violations of tax law can be submitted by mailing Form 3949-A to Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888. Report abusive tax promotions by submitting Form 14242 to Internal Revenue Service Lead Development Center Stop MS5040 24000 Avila Road Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, fax (949) 389-5083
  • The Social Security Administration fraud hotline, (800) 269-0271, and this online form  takes reports of misuse of a Social Security number, as well as any fraud, waste and abuse within SSA programs.

Linda Hildebrand is a longtime newspaper editor and consumer reporter.

 

 

 

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