Reporting fraud, from embezzlement to identity theft, is important both because it can help you as a victim recover personal loses and because it can prevent other people from falling victim to a scheme as well. Sometimes, whether because of the high volume of fraud reports or because your local police force is ill-equipped to deal with such cases, filing a fraud report with local authorities can be difficult. Close your affected bank accounts, place an alert on your credit report, then begin the process of filing a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
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Things you need
- FTC ID Theft Complaint form
- Supporting documentation, including bank statements
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at ftc.gov. Fill out the FTC ID Theft Complaint form, which will grant you some protection against fraudulent information on your accounts and credit report. You will also want to bring this complaint form with you to your local police department.
Call your local police and tell them you'd like to file a fraud report. Ask them if it's possible to do so in person at the station. If not, ask how you can file by phone or online and take notes on their instructions.
Go into the station to file. Bring with you a copy of your FTC report and any supporting documentation, such as your bank statements or correspondence you may have received from the thief or companies the thief has dealt with. Fill out the forms given to you by the police and ask them to attach the copy of the FTC report to your police report.
Ask for a copy of your police report. Hold on to your report as proof of fraudulent activity on your accounts and credit report. If the police cannot offer you a copy of the police report, as is the case in some jurisdictions, have the officer sign your FTC complaint form and list the police report number in the "Law Enforcement Report" portion of the complaint form.
If your local police are unwilling to take a fraud report, try filling out a Miscellaneous Incident report. Then contact your state's attorney general to see if your state requires local police to take fraud reports. Your state's attorney general may also have a special task force to combat fraud, and his office may be able to refer you to another jurisdiction, such as the state police, to file your report.
Tips and warnings
- Keep copies of all reports you file, as they may be needed again to combat new or reappearing fraudulent charges.
- For fraud conducted via the Internet, including scams delivered by spam and phished websites, jurisdiction may be difficult to define and your local police may not be your best resource. Try contacting the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you've experienced fraud, your first step is to protect your finances by putting a fraud alert on your credit report and freezing or closing your bank accounts. You can freeze your account by contacting your bank. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact one of the three credit reporting companies--Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. After you've secured your accounts and credit, file a police report.
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