How To Report A Scam
It would be great if you never had to worry about being ripped off, but chances are that someday, you'll need to know how to report a scam. The following steps can help you minimize the damage.
Take down the details. It's not always easy to know when you're in the process of being scammed. If you have your suspicions, try and take notes as soon as you realize something fishy is going on. Some things to record are the name and description of any people involved in the scam, why you think it's a scam, what products or services are being sold and how much money (if any) you've lost. Taking notes will make it easier to report the scam when the time comes.
Do some research. If you think that you're a scam victim, it will help you to report the scam if you know a little about scams in general. A quick search online will reveal details of similar scams; con artists usually reuse ideas for scams instead of coming up with completely new ones.
Inform the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is the go-to agency when reporting most types of scams. The website provides a place to file complaints about scams. You can also use it to learn more about how con artists operate.
Contact the police. In addition to filing a report to the BBB, you can also contact the police to report a scam that is in the process of taking place, or which has just occurred. However, note that it can sometimes take a while to prove that a scam really is a scam (for example, you might pay to receive magazines, and then never get any) so the power of the police can be limited.
Inform others who might be affected. If the scam is local, it's especially important that you spread the word locally. For example, you can report the scam to local media outlets, so that they can warn people. Contacting your local home owner's association or property management office is also a good idea, especially if they have policies in place about solicitors.
- Let the rest of the world know. The more people know about potential scams, the less likely they are to fall for them. If you fall prey (or almost fall prey) to a scam, tell everyone you know. If you're especially angered, you can write articles online or comment on forums that discuss scams.
People who scam are very good at making it look like they aren't scamming. If you think that you've been scammed, don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and don't let anyone discourage you from reporting the situation.