Report Scam Calls to the Federal Trade Commission

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The Federal Trade Commission - FTC

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the FTC Act. Both business practices and communication practices which are intended to cause harm to individuals are investigated through this act. Recent additions to the act are text messaging and automatic robocalling. The purpose of the FTC, for more than a century, is to receive complaints, address them, and investigate any potential criminal activity. The commission takes individuals and businesses to court and are responsible for collecting monies on behalf of economic injury to citizens.

Scam Calls

Scam calls are any telephone communication in which one party has requested money from another under false pretense. These include robocalling, text messaging, and email communication. There are those who would prey on citizens for the purpose of collecting funds for charities, home repairs, business opportunities, academic opportunities, and contests that do not exist. When an individual has received a scam communication, they should refuse to provide any personal information, especially bank account and government ID numbers such as Social Security or Driver's License.

While on the call with the potential scammer, a person should collect as much information as he or she can regarding their phone number, the identity of the caller and business, and what they are requesting. The more information collected the more efficiently the FTC can put the caller out of business.

What Should You Do?

Once you have received either a robocall - an automated phone call - or a call from an individual who has tried to talk you out of your money, you should locate the FTC complaint department either online or by phone (1-888-382-1222). The FTC Complaint Assistant provides an easy-to-use online form. The form is specific by types of scams. Once you identify the type of communication you received, another form will be revealed. Choose one of the options from there.

For communications that are potentially harmful, you should choose the selection that is specific to the type of communication you received. For example, if you received an email asking for your name, user ID's, passwords, or other personal information, you should choose Identity Theft. This is also the selection you would choose if you find your identity has been stolen.

For phone calls, texts, or emails that promise money for nothing, business opportunities that are hard to believe, pyramid schemes where you join a team recruit individuals to work under you, those calls that promise free education, or credit opportunities, you would select the appropriate selection from the left-hand menu of the form then read each choice to find the one that best suits the complaint.

FTC Limitations

The FTC does not have the personnel to communicate directly with an individual plaintiff. Instead, they will record the information provided and add it to any others that are related. These will be investigated on behalf of all citizens who have been harmed by each entity. Be assured that the FTC will conduct investigations on behalf of any complaint and will properly resolve any illegal activity through the court system. However, if your report requires more information for any legal proceedings, it is best if you provide contact information.

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