I've Been Scammed
I’ve Been Scammed
No matter if you want to report a roofing rip-off or are looking for restitution for a fraudulent Internet deals, getting help if you’ve or I’ve been scammed often can be as frustrating as I've been scammed.
During these tough economic times, budgets for consumer advocacy groups and government protection agencies have been slashed, which translates into fewer fraud investigations and fully manned hotlines.
“(Consumer) complaints about the responsiveness issue are getting louder,” says Sheryl Bilbray, president of the Better Business Bureau of San Diego and Imperial Counties. Not-for-profit community programs and government agencies, she said, “are having a hard time giving consumers the level of service they’ve experienced in the past.”
But it’s important to report every rip-off or scam, not only for you, but also to protect other consumers. This requires patience and persistence to make your consumer problems heard.
Here are some tips to make the process as efficient as possible if I've been scammed.
- Start with your local law enforcement. Don’t get caught up in the maze of consumer advocacy groups and forget about reporting the scam to the police or sheriff.
- Double, triple and quadruple your efforts. Report a scam to all agencies or groups that may be able to help.
- Follow up calls with online complaint forms. Don’t be afraid of being a pest; you’re just being persistent.
- Make your complaint you've been scammed concise. Don’t write a 15-page letter detailing how I've been scammed. Make it short and simple. If the investigators need more information, they will contact you.
- If you don’t get a response within a week, call or e-mail again. Your call or complaint form may have gotten lost in the shuffle.
- Have handy all paperwork from your scam or complaint. Be able to furnish dates, receipts, addresses and all pertinent information that may help investigators.
- Document your complaint process. Make a log of times and dates each consumer hotline is called. Keep copies of all complaint letters. Get the names and phone numbers of all consumer advocates you’ve been in contact with.