What Should I Do if I Believe that I Have Been the Victim of Consumer Fraud?
Unfortunately, even the most sophisticated consumers among us are at risk to be victimized by consumer fraud. This type of fraud occurs when a party engages in deceptive practices that result in financial or other losses to consumers and can take a variety of forms, including the following:
- False advertising;
- Identity theft;
- Deceptive billing practices;
- Charging hidden fees; and
- Selling products that do not perform as advertised.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 25 million consumers were affected by consumer fraud during 2011. Fortunately for people who have been victimized in consumer fraud schemes, they can often recover for their losses by bringing a legal claim against the party or parties that defrauded them. For this reason, it is extremely important for people who believe that they have been the victims of fraud to take steps to ensure that their legal rights are protected. Some of these are discussed below.
The first thing that you should do if you believe you may be involved in a consumer fraud scheme is to document as much information about the operation as possible. In many cases, fraudsters will only operate under a particular business name in a particular geographic market for a short period of time, as they are aware of the fact that their scheme will unravel quickly. For this reason, victims should not delay in documenting facts, as memories can often fade. Some of the kinds of facts of which to make note include the following:
- The names of the individuals with whom you dealt;
- The phone number or numbers that you used to contact them;
- The name of the business, if any; and
- Details regarding any financial transactions that occurred.
The more information you are able to gather, the better the chances that you will be able to recover for your losses.
Alert Authorities To The Existence Of The Scam
People who believe that they have been the victim of consumer fraud alert with the appropriate state agency. While this could be your local law enforcement agency, many States, including Florida, have special fraud hotlines which consumers can use to report instances of fraud. By alerting authorities to the existence of a scam, you reduce the risk of others being victimized in the same way. Furthermore, it is important to be able to find the party that defrauded you in order to be able to recover. Reporting fraudsters to authorities will help ensure that the person or people responsible for your losses will be held accountable.
Contact A West Palm Beach Consumer Fraud Attorney Today To Schedule A Consultation
Anyone that believes that he or she has been the victims of consumer fraud should contact an experienced attorney immediately. In many cases, a lawyer can help people affected by fraud recover for their losses. The West Palm Beach business and consumer fraud attorneys of Pike & Lustig, LLP are committed to representing the legal rights of the victims of consumer fraud. Call our office today at 561-855-7585.