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6 Steps to Take after Discovering Fraud

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Article: 6 Steps to Take after Discovering Fraud

You just realized you were scammed. That trade or investment you made was a fraud. Now what do you do?

The sooner you take action, the better you can protect yourself and help others. Getting all of your stolen money back may prove difficult, but recovery is about more than just regaining your losses. These six steps can help you guard against further theft, report the fraud, and start the recovery process. They are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal or investment advice or a comprehensive list of solutions. You can also conduct these steps on your own at little or no cost. However, if you feel you need legal help, consult an attorney.

Your first steps should focus on stopping further losses and gathering the information you have about the scheme and the perpetrators while it is still fresh. Then, report the crime as soon as possible. The sooner you report, even if you think the matter is insignificant, the easier it’ll be for authorities to track down the fraudsters or stop others from being victimized. Next, look into how you can repair the damage and avoid fraud in the future.

1. Don’t pay any more money

This may sound obvious, but some schemes use the promise of large returns to persuade victims to send one fee after another, even when the victims suspect something is wrong. These fee frauds have increased significantly online in recent months. Typically, legitimate brokers will deduct fees and commissions from your account, and not demand more money to release your earnings or principal. U.S. brokers will never withhold or collect taxes.

Also, be on the lookout for recovery frauds. These frauds target recent victims and claim to be able to get the stolen money back if the victims first pay an upfront fee, ‘donation,’ retainer, or back taxes. The perpetrators of these advance-fee frauds often pose as government officials, attorneys, or recovery companies. Learn more about the warning signs of recovery frauds.

2. Collect all the pertinent information and documents

While the events are still fresh in your memory, develop a timeline and collect documents and information that could help when it comes time to report or investigate the fraud. Write down conversations you had with the fraudsters with the approximate dates and times they took place. Documents and information to collect and keep include:

Resolution when Working with Registered Entities


If problems arise with an individual or firm registered with the CFTC, customers can seek help through the CFTC Reparations Program or NFA arbitration process.


The BASIC Database operated by the National Futures Association provides information on registration and details about registrants, including disciplinary histories.

  • Names, titles, or positions used by the fraudsters.
  • Social media profiles, group posts, chats, or other online interactions.
  • Website addresses and screen shots.
  • Emails and email addresses. Save these electronically, or print them out with the full header information. (Your email provider or a web search can describe how to capture header information.)
  • Phone numbers you used to contact them.
  • Account information, statements, trade confirmations, disclosures, and sales materials.
  • If credit cards were used, include the receipts or statements.
  • Exchanges of digital currencies, such as bitcoin.
  • Records of other forms of payment including cancelled checks or receipts for wire transfers, money orders, or prepaid cards.
  • Any correspondence received, including envelopes.

3. Protect your identity and accounts

If you provided payment information to the fraudsters, take the steps necessary to block access to your accounts and protect against identity theft.

  • Credit cards. If you used credit card information in the fraudulent transaction, contact your card issuers immediately to make a fraud report. As part of the process, you may be required to get a new account number.

You may also want to contact one of the three national credit reporting companies (below) and ask that it place a fraud alert on your credit file. The credit reporting company you contact will automatically report the fraud alert to the other credit reporting companies. A fraud alert will notify potential creditors to verify your identity before extending additional credit in your name. Placing a fraud alert is free and typically lasts up to one year or until you ask for it to be removed.

You can also request a free security freeze. A security freeze restricts access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. You will have to contact each credit reporting company to place a freeze. A security freeze will not be lifted unless you request it.

  • Bank automated clearing house (ACH) information. If you gave the fraudster your bank account number or routing number, contact your bank or credit union immediately. You may need to close the account and open a new one.
  • Social security number. Go ahead with a fraud alert or credit freeze and report your information stolen at the FTC’s identitytheft.gov website. Be on guard for scams that claim your social security number is linked to back taxes or other debts. Independently verify claims with the IRS or creditors before paying any money.
  • Log-ins and passwords. If you registered for access to a fraudster’s website using usernames or passwords that you use elsewhere, be sure to update accounts with new log-ins as soon as possible.
  • Other steps to protect your identity. If you experience identity theft, you can report it and get further recovery steps at identitytheft.gov.

Two Ways to Submit a Complaint to CFTC


You can submit violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations by filing a whistleblower Form TCR or a Complaint Form.


Form TCR – Individuals who submit a Form TCR receive privacy, confidentiality, and anti-retaliation protections under the Commodity Exchange Act and may be eligible for monetary awards. Whistleblowers can file a Form TCR anonymously but must provide a way for the Division of Enforcement to contact them. Learn more about becoming a whistleblower.


Complaint Form – If you don’t wish to be eligible for a potential award and receive anti-retaliation protections, you can report information electronically to the Division of Enforcement on a Complaint Form or by calling us toll-free at 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382).

4. Report the fraud to authorities

Tell us if you believe you were victimized by a fraud that involved commodity futures, options on futures, swaps, commodity pools, binary options, foreign exchange, digital assets, or other derivatives.

If you have experienced other types of fraud and don’t know where to send your complaint, the Department of Justice has a directory that can help. Also, federal agencies work closely together and will forward your complaint to the appropriate agency.

If the fraud occurred in your local community, you could also report the matter to the police and your district attorney. You may need to file a police report if you plan to file an insurance claim for fraud losses.

Also contact your state financial regulator or attorney general. State authorities may choose to bring actions in state court.

5. Check your insurance coverage, and other financial recovery steps

  • Fraud theft insurance. Check your homeowner’s policy to see if it includes coverage for fraud losses or reimbursements for identity theft related expenses. It may be limited to your principal investment and not expected profits, or it may cover only expenses incurred to fix problems caused by the identity theft.
  • Consider consulting a tax professional. If you can itemize deductions on your personal income tax return, fraud losses may be deductible in the year the fraud was discovered. Calculating the deduction can be complicated and certain exceptions may apply. For more information, see IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, and other resources for investment fraud victims from the IRS.
  • Consult a financial counselor or advisor. Losses to retirement savings or that caused significant debt may require the help of a professional financial advisor. Beware of credit repair companies that promise to significantly erase your debt. A financial advisor can help examine your current situation and provide a path to rebuild savings, reduce spending, minimize interest expenses, or identify other possible sources of income.
  • Recovering money lost to fraud. If you want to consult a lawyer or company to recover money lost to fraud, be sure to ask what services will be provided, the costs involved, how you will be charged, and get all of the answers in writing. Check with your local bar association to ensure attorneys are licensed in your state or if they have a history of complaints. Be aware that, in many cases, asset recovery companies charge high fees to do little more than send a demand letter to the original fraudster and a boilerplate complaint to the appropriate regulator. If the scammer is insolvent, the demand letter will do little good, and you can submit complaints to government regulators at no cost.

6. Consider changing behaviors and building your resistance to fraud.

As the saying goes, ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.’ Don’t blame yourself for being victimized. Fraudsters are very good at what they do, and they often target educated and successful people. However, you may want to consider the events or actions that led up to the fraud. Many times, routine activities can lead people into becoming targets, and returning to those activities could start the process over again. These routine activities could include being active in investor social media groups or chat rooms, commenting on videos, signing up for trading courses, special offers, free giveaways, or investor newsletters.

While the exact numbers are unknown, because fraud is commonly underreported, victims tend to be victimized more than once. Recovery frauds, mentioned above, commonly start from victim lists sold on the dark web. Your personal details and vulnerabilities may be sold to other scammers. One of the best ways to build your resistance to fraud is to stay informed. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you avoid fraud again.

Do:

  • Do verify the registration and disciplinary history of any broker, adviser, or trading platform with the CFTC, NFA, SEC, FINRA or the appropriate state regulator before doing business with them. While registration alone cannot protect you from fraud, most frauds involve unregistered individuals, entities, or products.
  • Stay current on the latest frauds and schemes by monitoring credible sources such as state and federal government or law enforcement agencies, including the CFTC, SEC, Department of Justice, FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FINRA, National Futures Association (NFA), your state securities regulator, or attorney general’s office.
  • Get a second opinion from a trusted adviser, family member, or friend before making an investment. Seeking advice from someone you know and trust is good way to slow down a sales pitch and avoid fraud.
  • Let unknown callers go to voicemail or have a refusal script ready to end cold calls quickly. ‘I don’t participate in phone solicitations,’ then hanging up, works just fine.
  • Delete-don’t open-unsolicited email. Often, opening an email will signal a spammer that the email account is active and more spam will follow.
  • Verify business addresses by doing an online map search and looking at the location using the street-level view. Many fraudulent websites will use fake addresses, which can be easily spotted with a virtual visit.
  • Review privacy settings on social media platforms and conceal or delete information that pinpoints where you live, where you went to college, what you do for a living, where you trade or bank, how often you invest, etc. Personal information can easily be pieced together by fraudsters and used to target you for future schemes.
  • Check email addresses carefully to avoid phishing attacks.
  • Learn about the common persuasion tactics fraudsters use.

Don’t:

  • Don’t respond to unsolicited sales calls or email.
  • Don’t give credit card, payment information, or personal information over the phone, in an email, or to a website that is sent as a link in an email. Fraudsters often pose as financial service professionals or government officials. Instead, end the call or close the correspondence, and look up the customer service contact information on your own.
  • Don’t fund trades or investments by wiring money, sending prepaid credit or gift cards, using digital assets such as Bitcoin, or making other unusual forms of payment.
  • Don’t communicate using encrypted messaging apps with ‘brokers’ or others promising to make you money. These apps provide global access and hide the true location of the person on the other end. You could easily be dealing with an offshore fraudster posing as a person in the United States.
  • Don’t trade or invest in vehicles you don’t fully understand. If you can’t explain it, you probably shouldn’t invest your money in it.
  • Don’t engage with people promoting investments or trading schemes on social media. Especially don’t engage with people who promise they are ‘legit’ even though all the others are scams.
  • Don’t trade or invest with unregistered entities or individuals that operate outside the United States.
  • Don’t engage with people you are introduced to through third parties or organizations. Affinity fraud targets people through social groups and use those connections to build credibility. Places of worship, professional organizations, service organizations, and others are common targets for affinity fraudsters.

Additional resources

Disclaimer

CFTC – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission published this content on 20 July 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 20 July 2020 19:45:16 UTC

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Debt Consolidation: Market 2021 also Industry is Booming Worldwide with Key Players

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Debt Consolidation Market With COVID19-Pandemic Impact Analysis:

Debt Consolidation Market 2021 this report is including with the COVID19 Outbreak Impact analysis of key points influencing the growth of the market. Also, Debt Consolidation Market (By major key players, By Types, By Applications, and Leading Regions) Segments outlook, Business assessment, Competition scenario, Trends and Forecast by Upcoming Year’s. The study of the Debt Consolidation report is done based on the significant research methodology that provides the analytical inspection of the global market based on various segments the Industry is alienated into also the summary and advance size of the marketplace owing to the various outlook possibilities. The report also gives 360-degree overview of the competitive landscape of the industries. SWOT analysis has been used to understand the strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in front of the businesses. Thus, helping the companies to understand the threats and challenges in front of the businesses. Debt Consolidation market is showing steady growth and CAGR is expected to improve during the forecast period.

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  3. Top players in the Debt Consolidation Market with their revenue analysis.
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The Major Players in the Debt Consolidation Market.

Mozo
Canstar
Credit Repair Australia
Australian Debt Agreements
Think Money
Debt Negotiators
The DCS Group has
Debt Cutter
Sort My Debt
Clear Credit Solutions
Australian Debt Solvers
Australian Lending Center

 

The Debt Consolidation Market Report Helps You in Understanding:

  1. Dominant and emerging trend analysis, elaborate references of key drivers, restraints, threats and challenges besides also harping on product categorization as well as industry chain analysis that collectively influence uniform growth
  2. The Debt Consolidation market report lends amplified focus on important business priorities and investment choices preferred by key players as well as contributing players
  3. The Debt Consolidation market report discusses at length the core growth pattern and market dimensions, besides also harping on decoding the competition spectrum for thorough business discretion

Key Businesses Segmentation of Debt Consolidation Market

on the basis of types, the Debt Consolidation market from 2015 to 2026 is primarily split into:
Credit Card Debt
Overdrafts or Loans
Others

on the basis of applications, the Debt Consolidation market from 2015 to 2026 covers:
Enterprise
Private

Some of the key factors contributing to the Debt Consolidation market growth include:

Regional Debt Consolidation Market Analysis:

It could be divided into two different sections: one for regional production analysis and the other for regional consumption analysis. Here, the analysts share gross margin, price, revenue, production, CAGR, and other factors that indicate the growth of all regional markets studied in the report. covering

RegionCountries
North AmericaU.S. & Canada
EuropeU.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, BENELUX, NORDIC, Rest of Europe
Asia-PacificChina, India, Japan, South Korea

 

Australia, New Zealand, Rest of Asia-Pacific

Latin AmericaBrazil, Mexico, Argentina, Rest of Latin America
Middle East and AfricaIsrael, GCC, South Africa, Rest of Middle East and Africa
  • Growing per capita disposable income
  • Favorable for youth Demographics
  • Technology advancement

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  • Impact on Debt Consolidation market Size
  • End User Trend, Preferences and Budget Impact of Debt Consolidation market
  • Regulatory Framework/Government Policies
  • Key Players Strategy to Tackle Negative Impact of Debt Consolidation market
  • New Opportunity Window of Debt Consolidation market

Key Question Answered in Debt Consolidation Market Report.

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Debt Consolidation Market?
  • What are the different marketing and distribution channels?
  • What is the current CAGR of the Debt Consolidation Market?
  • What are the Debt Consolidation market opportunities in front of the market?
  • What are the highest competitors in Debt Consolidation market?
  • What are the key outcomes of SWOT and Porter’s five techniques?
  • What is the Debt Consolidation market size and growth rate in the forecast period?

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  • Chapter 2: Debt Consolidation Industry Chain Analysis, Upstream Raw Material Suppliers, Major Players, Production Process Analysis, Cost Analysis, Market Channels, and Major Downstream Buyers.
  • Chapter 3: Value Analysis, Production, Growth Rate and Price Analysis by Type of Debt Consolidation.
  • Chapter 4: Downstream Characteristics, Consumption and Market Share by Application of Debt Consolidation.
  • Chapter 5: Production Volume, Price, Gross Margin, and Revenue ($) of Debt Consolidation by Regions.
  • Chapter 6: Debt Consolidation Production, Consumption, Export, and Import by Regions.
  • Chapter 7: Debt Consolidation Market Status and SWOT Analysis by Regions.
  • Chapter 8: Competitive Landscape, Product Introduction, Company Profiles, Market Distribution Status by Players of Debt Consolidation.
  • Chapter 9: Debt Consolidation Market Analysis and Forecast by Type and Application.
  • Chapter 10: Debt Consolidation Market Analysis and Forecast by Regions.
  • Chapter 11: Debt Consolidation Industry Characteristics, Key Factors, New Entrants SWOT Analysis, Investment Feasibility Analysis.
  • Chapter 12: Debt Consolidation Market Conclusion of the Whole Report.
  • Chapter 13: Appendix Such as Methodology and Data Resources of Debt Consolidation Market Research.

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Teams eliminated during the NFL’s Divisional Round face major offseason questions

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It’s brutal to lose in the Divisional Round of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs — it leaves most of the teams that get eliminated with pressing questions. Questions ranging from easy ones (“How do we take the next step”) to difficult ones (“How do we keep the salary cap from tearing us apart next year?”) to downright existential ones (“Is everything we are trying to accomplish doomed to failure?”). The Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, and New Orleans Saints are grappling with those questions now that their 2020 seasons have come to a close.

Here’s an NFL Recap look at what lies ahead for the four eliminated teams from Divisional Round action that came so close to the Super Bowl, and yet are still so far away.

Editor’s note — bookmark the main page on Pro Football Network for all of Mike’s thoughts in the full NFL Recap beyond this Conference Championship preview!

The first eliminated team of the NFL Divisional Round: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams enter the offseason $22 million over the salary cap. Their in-house free agent list is led by top defensive backs Troy Hill and Darious Williams, both of whom will be expensive to keep. And the Rams lack a first-round pick because of the Jalen Ramsey trade (which feels like it happened two days after the Herschel Walker trade). Other than that, everything is peachy-keen.

The Rams will have trouble retaining second-tier in-house free agents like center Austin Blythe, receiver Josh Reynolds, or tight end Gerald Everett, let alone someone like Williams unless they perform some serious credit repair. Look for an offseason of restructured contracts, free agent departures, and very little good news as the Rams try to keep their playoff window from slamming shut.

The second eliminated team of the NFL Divisional Round: Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson needs to become a more consistent passer outside the numbers. The Ravens’ offense needs a legitimate Plan B when they fall behind by more than a touchdown or when their option running game is bottled up.

And the whole team needs to find ways to avoid the type of catastrophic big-game failures that get them eliminated in NFL Playoff games. Red zone collapses, silly mistakes, and sudden reversals in which a long drive turns into seven points for the opponent have destroyed them.

Featured | Valdovinos’ 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

The Ravens must also keep daring to be different. They must avoid the trap of thinking that Jackson or their offense has some special deficiency that will doom them to playoff also-ran status. Jackson and the Ravens are easy targets for lazy skepticism because they are so unique. If Jackson were a pocket passer in a conventional offense, he could go 8-8 for years while facing only moderate criticism while earning dump trucks full of money to almost win Wild Card games.

The Ravens have quantitative problems, not qualitative ones. They are a few tweaks, not an overhaul, away from the Super Bowl. Fortunately, they are also one of the best organizations in the league when it comes to sticking to their long-range plan.

Sights set on next year: Cleveland Browns

Going from 0-16 to 11-5 is easy, especially when it takes three years to do it. Going from 11-5 to the Super Bowl is much harder because the Browns will be swimming against the tides of the salary cap, draft order, and a harder 2021 schedule.

Self-scouting is crucial for an NFL team at the Browns’ stage of development and eliminated in the Divisional Round. They cannot fool themselves into thinking that they are “one player away” or that further improvements will just happen automatically.

The Browns’ salary cap situation is pretty good. It’s about $24 million in on-paper space, much of which will likely be spent on extensions, even if the team takes another year to wait-and-see on Baker Mayfield (guard Wyatt Teller, for example, is in the final year of his rookie contract).

Extra third and fourth-round picks from past trades will help spackle some holes. And Odell Beckham returns next year, which is almost certainly a good thing. The Browns sorely need a receiver who can stretch the field, and Beckham is only about 15-20% as much of a loopy distraction as your father-in-law insists he is.

The Browns should be at least as good in 2021 as they were in 2020. That’s fine, so long as an organization with zero history of sustaining success realizes that any team that doesn’t get ahead in the NFL ends up falling behind.

Sights set on next year: New Orleans Saints

The Saints are an eliminated team, and will be up Schitt’s Creek the moment Drew Brees retires from the NFL. They’re so deep in cap debt ($95 million entering the 2021 offseason) that the whole team will have to live in a motel room in a Canadian countryside town full of quirky characters just to make ends meet.

The Saints face the greatest cap crisis in NFL history, and Recap doesn’t have the bandwidth or word count to dig into the macroeconomics of what they will have to do to field a roster next year. Let’s just say that we will get to see what the Taysom Hill/Alvin Kamara option package looks like when half of the remaining roster is earning the league minimum.

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Top scams of 2020; what to watch out for in 2021

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CHICAGO (WLS) — The Better Business Bureau released its top 10 scam list for 2020. No doubt these will be things to watch out for in 2021.

Some of the most common were fake websites tricking consumers into making a purchase who then never get the product. This is something the I-Team has exposed during the pandemic with people never getting the Personal protective equipment they ordered.

RELATED: How to spot phishing scam from fake Amazon emails about shipping

Another involved the sale of counterfeit products.

Employment or job offer scams where you’re possibly asked to send money to make money were also popular.

It’s also worth mentioning all of these include “COVID-19” related scams which on its own came in at number four.

RELATED: Avoid Falling For Coronavirus Scams

One thing to always remember to avoid getting scammed is to thoroughly research websites before you send anyone money.

Top 10 Scams of 2020:

1. Online Purchase – fake websites
2. Counterfeit Products (Clothing, electronics, shoes, purses, etc.)
3. Employment – scam job offers
4. COVID Related Scams – (These may be much higher – COVID is sited in other categories)
5. Debt Collections – invoices, calls or emails for fake debts

6. Advance Fee Loan – the promise of a “loan” – after you pay fees
7. Phishing Scams – (Clicking on scam links can lead to malware – imposter scams etc.)
8. Credit Card – Includes fake emails and calls claiming there’s a problem with your account in order to steal money and information – or fake credit card debt consolidation
9. Credit Repair/Debt Relief
10. Identity Theft -can we say not a matter of if but when it will happen to you?

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