The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC’s mission is to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive, deceptive, or unfair to consumers. The FTC has an amazing amount of resources and information, with popular topics such as Identity theft, validity of charitable organizations, disaster preparedness, consumer complaints, frauds and scams. At their website you can access the “Do Not Call” system, watch a video on thwarting robocalls and access your free annual credit report.
The majority of the consumer complaints the FTC receives are regarding identity theft and consumer fraud/scams. Whether the scam is Nigerian, Grandparent or Green Dot crooks often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information, defrauding millions of people to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The one thing that remains constant is that the crooks follow the headlines. If you want to keep up with the latest scams in the news and find out how to recognize and report them, sign up today for alerts from the FTC at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFTC/subscriber/new?topic_id=USFTC_31. For more information on recent scams, please access this link: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.
A statistical survey of fraud in the United States during 2011 (most current numbers) showed that an estimated 25.6 million adults – 10.8% of the adult population – were victims of fraud. For the survey specifics, please access this link: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2013/04/130419fraudsurvey.pdf.
The Mill Valley Police Department has crime prevention tips (including scams, frauds, and identity theft) that can be found here: http://cityofmillvalley.org/Index.aspx?page=130.