So, a Scammer DM’d a Consumer Law Attorney. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s actually not funny at all, but it was for me, because I got the last laugh. Why? I immediately reported the attempted scammer to the Federal Trade Commission. I’m not alone, 1.4 Million people reported fraud to the FTC last year. Unfortunately, people also LOST $1.48 BILLION to fraud as well. People in their 20s made up of 43% of reporters, while people in their 70s made up only 15%. The median amount of loss to fraud last year was $400.00 for people in their 20s, and $751.00 for people in their 70s.

The amount of fraud is staggering. As is the underreporting of fraud. If you do the math- an average of let’s say, $600.00 per person multiplied by 1.4M reporters comes nowhere near the $1.43B lost. People who are victims of fraud are often ashamed to admit it to family or friends or report it. Other reasons people don’t report are; the amounts are often low, under $1000.00, so it’s not worth the hassle, or they don’t know how to report fraud, or, for some people, including older Americans, they don’t feel comfortable reporting via online app.

The fact is, fraudsters can take even the savviest among us, there is easy reporting available online, and reporting helps protect our friends and neighbors because the FTC can track the frequency, source and types of scams from reports. So, let’s change the conversation. If you send money or a gift card or reloadable card to a scammer, take the 5 minutes to report it. If your family or friends have been victims, encourage them or assist them in reporting. Here’s how:

1. Go to the Federal Trade Commission website: www.ftc.gov and find the “report a scam” link. This brings you to the “FTC Complaint Assistant.”

2. Select the type of scam you want to report- yes, there are a lot of categories! Yes, there are a lot of predatory, nasty people out there.

3. Fill out the form as completely as possible. If you receive a number, email, or even a social media conversation, please include that info. I took a screen shot of mine, so I had it to report.

4. Keep the record of your report. There is a report number and a phone number to call in case you get more info later.

It literally took me 5 minutes. And I received a sense of satisfaction as well. I’m not going to lie, it is empowering to, “have something to do about it,” and I do it every time. Remember this the next time someone tries to “advice” you on how to apply for YOUR $150,000.00 grant. You can’t say he wasn’t warned!

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