Consumer Scams FAQ

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How can I file a complaint for fraud?

If you've been scammed, there are several ways you can file a complaint:

The National Consumer League's Fraud Center. This organization can help if you've encountered telemarketing or Internet fraud. It provides information on how to prevent scams and can help you file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. You can get information on the Fraud Center's website at www.fraud.org.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a fraud complaint with the FTC (go to www.ftc.gov, click on "Consumer Protection" and "File a Complaint.") Complaints help the FTC track scams nationwide. If the FTC receives many complaints regarding one bad actor, it might take action. The FTC website also has information on how to protect yourself from scams.

State Consumer Protection Agency. Your state or local consumer protection agency may be able to help if you've been scammed. To find your local agency, see Nolo's article State Consumer Protection Offices.

State Prosecutor. Contact your local prosecution office and find out if it investigates consumer fraud complaints.

Local newspaper, radio, or television stations. Many local media outlets are looking for scams and fraud stories. They may have a cadre of volunteers to pursue consumer complaints.

Keep in mind, however, that filing a complaint does not always mean you'll get action or results. You may have to file a lawsuit in small claims court (if the amount in question is small) or consult with an attorney. (To learn more about small claims court, see Nolo's Small Claims Court area).

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