How To Detect Consumer Fraud

The best way to learn how to detect consumer fraud is to educate yourself on it.  News programs usually have a segment warning about consumer fraud scams.  And there are many articles online, too.  Consumer fraud can be local, national or even international.  The types of consumer fraud run the gamut.  There are work-at-home scams as well as scams involving warranties, in-house service and charity.  Some fraud you will probably never know about.  A person collecting for a charity can take all of the money home.  You may give them a couple bucks and never know if the charity received it.  Other charities can drastically affect your bank account.  People get ripped-off every day by service companies and work-at-home schemes.  To prevent losing money, you must be constantly educating yourself on how to detect consumer fraud.

One of the first steps in detecting consumer fraud is to make sure you study the paperwork.  Some of the offerings are in fine print and aren't always that noticeable.  Whether you are signing up for a credit card or ordering a product online, make sure you understand all of the details before authorizing a purchase.

Next, never make a decision to purchase right away.  Do some research on the company.  Check with the Better Business Bureau and see if the company has any complaints against them.  Also, call their office and see if they answer by their business name.  Drive by their location if they have an office.  There are many fly-by-night companies out there that can take off with your money and never perform their service.

Keep an eye on your bank account.  This is extremely important if you order something online.  Some companies will add on extra services or set you up with auto shipments.  Auto shipments are when products are delivered every month or so and money is charged each time to your account.

Make sure you fully understand product or service liability offers.  For example, if you have new gutters installed and they leaks six months later, you'll need to know the terms of the agreement.  This information is a binding legal agreement and can presented as evidence should a company renege on it.

Consumer fraud can be reported by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  A formal complaint will need to be filed to start the process.  You may need legal advice for more complicated cases.


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