U.S. Agencies Covering Awareness
and Fraud Prevention
National Crime Prevention Council
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) works to prevent
crime and build safer, more caring communities. NCPC’s
major initiatives include the National Citizens’ Crime
Prevention Campaign (NCCPC), an alliance of national, state,
and federal organizations that works with businesses, civic groups,
individuals, and law enforcement to generate crime prevention
awareness and action throughout the country through a variety
of mechanisms. The campaign includes a series of public service
advertisements, publications, training, technical assistance,
and program development.
202/466–6272, Fax: 202/296–1356
Association of Retired Persons
601 E St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20049
AARP sponsored the first large
scale survey of telemarketing fraud victims. The purpose of the
survey was to learn more about how this crime affects older Americans.
They have launched a campaign against telemarketing fraud that
involves research examining older victims and their behavior,
partnerships with enforcement and consumer protection agencies,
and repeated delivery of a consistent research-based message.
That is: "Fraudulent telemarketers are criminals. Don’t
fall for a telephone line."
Crimes Task Force of Southwestern Pennsylvania
The Financial Crimes Task Force has been charged with the investigation
and prosecution of criminal offenses involving split-deposit
schemes, counterfeit checks, internet fraud, stolen government
checks, identity thefts and identity take-overs within Southwestern
Pennsylvania, placing an emphasis on organized activity. The
task force is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting
offenders, of these financial crimes, in state and federal courts.
FTC Web site ( www.ftc.gov )
A public complaint form was added to the Commission’s home
page to provide consumers a direct link to the FTC Consumer
Information System. These complaints are reviewed and downloaded
into the database, and receive the same quick response as those
received by telephone, mail, and e-mail.
The Commission receives approximately 95,000 "hits" per
day on this home page. In May 1998 alone, FTC.GOV received over
3 million hits from thousands of visitors.
ProjectkNOw Fraud is the largest consumer protection effort
ever undertaken, an excellent example of coordination among the
federal government's consumer protection agencies.
The kNOw Fraud partners are AARP, Council of Better Business
Bureaus' Foundation,Department of Justice, FBI, Federal Trade
Commission, National Association of AttorneysGeneral, the Securities
and Exchange Commission and the United States Post al Inspection
The initiative to date has included a national press conference,
more than 100 press conferences in citiesacross the country,
and a postcard mailing to 120 million American households alerting
consumersto the dangers of telemarketing fraud. kNOw Fraud
contacts have reported hearing from more than100,000 consumers.
Hoping to duplicate the success of last year's effort, the kNOw
Fraud II partnership will focus onidentity theft. The partners
plan to take their message to consumers with the help of utilitycompanies,
finance and banking institutions, telecommunications companies,
Internet serviceproviders and others via billing statements and
other customer contact methods.
The kNOw Fraud website already provides information for law
enforcement personnel on how tohelp victims, including referring
them to the toll-free ID theft hotline 1-877-IDTHEFT to file
a complaint. All complaints will be entered into the ConsumerSentinel's
Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse.
If you have been a victim of telemarketing fraud, call kNOw
Fraud at 1-877-987-3728, write to kNOw Fraud at PO Box 45600,
Washington, DC 20026-5600
You may contact your local law enforcement agency. The Telemarketing
Sales Rule gives local law enforcement officers the power to
prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines.
Note: Appears to have been replaced by Consumer
National White Collar Crime Center
Suite 450 1001 Boulder Parkway
Richmond, VA 23225-4424
The National White Collar Crime Center, through funding from
the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the U.S. Department
of Justice provides national support for the prevention, investigation,
and prosecution of white collar and economic crimes. The Center
also has a training and research institute associated with West
Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Center staff
include enforcement analysts, intelligence technicians, research
analysts, computer crime specialists, and training coordinators.
The Center's mission is to maintain a formally structured national
support system for State and local law enforcement and regulatory
agency members and to facilitate multi-State investigations of
white-collar and economic crimes. These crimes include, but are
not limited to, investment fraud, telemarketing fraud, boiler
room operations, securities fraud, commodities fraud, and advanced-
fee loan schemes.
The Center operates under the direction of an elected board
of directors, and has a membership composed of State and local
law enforcement, prosecution, and regulatory agency professionals
with criminal investigative authority. The Center operates under
BJA funding guidelines and meets the requirements for operating
a criminal information pointer database, as established in 28
CFR Part 23.
The Center provides a number of no-cost services to its members,
sharing:Computerized databases maintained
by the Center disseminate case and investigative information
on individuals and organizations suspected of involvement
in economic crimes. Analytical services are conducted by
center staff trained in areas such as financial analysis,
check analysis, qualitative compilations, and background
information gathering for specific member agency investigations.
funding: Limited financial assistance is
provided to selected multi-jurisdictional member agency
and research: The Center operates a national
training and research institute that serves as a national
resource in combating economic crime by developing partnerships
with public and private agencies to address white-collar
crime. Some of these training sessions, local and off-site, are
open to non-members for a fee.
As consultant to the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection, the Center analyzes
information on telemarketing frauds stored in the FTC's automated
Fraud Law Enforcement
Department of Justice
The U.S. Department of Justice enforces Federal laws. Federal
investigative agencies with major consumer protection responsibilities,
such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade
Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Postal
Inspection Service refer numerous civil and criminal prosecutions
to the Department.
In pursuing these cases, they seek to protect consumers against
dangerous and worthless products and unfair or fraudulent practices.
It does so through the enforcement of consumer protection statutes,
regulations, and orders.
The Department has filed numerous actions in recent years against
individuals and businesses committing fraud or violating laws and
regulations that are intended to eliminate misrepresentations in
the sales of goods and services.
The DOJ continues to pursue judicial and enforcement remedies
in the area of telemarketing fraud through their International
Assistance Group (extradition and legal assistance), the National
Strategy Group on Telemarketing Fraud, and the Canada-United States
Cross-Border Crime Forum.
In the telemarketing fraud area alone, the Department has, in
two major undercover operations (Operation
Disconnect and Operation Senior Sentinel) brought federal criminal
charges against more than 1,300 fraudulent telemarketers.
Office of Foreign Litigation in the Civil Division
Another component of the Department of Justice, the Office of
Foreign Litigation in the Civil Division, plays an important role
in certain cross-border fraud litigation. That Office is authorized
to file civil proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction where fraudulent
As a result, it can seek civil remedies in foreign jurisdictions
like Canada, including civil injunctions and freezing of individual
and corporate assets stemming from a fraudulent scheme that can
eventually be paid to the scheme’s victims as restitution.
Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the principal investigative
arm of the United States Department of Justice. It has the authority
and responsibility to investigate specific crimes assigned to it.
The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection's
mandate is to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent
practices. The Bureau enforces a variety of consumer protection
laws enacted by Congress, as well as trade regulation rules issued
by the Commission.
The FTC Act authorizes the Commission to halt deception in several
ways, including through civil actions filed by its own attorneys
in federal district court. Typically, these court actions seek
preliminary and permanent injunctions to halt deceptive activity,
as well as redress for injured consumers. Where redress is
impracticable, FTC consumer protection actions generally seek disgorgement
to the U.S. Treasury of defendants' ill-gotten gains.
Its actions include individual company and industry-wide investigations,
administrative and federal court litigation, rulemaking proceedings,
and consumer and business education.
Although the FTC cannot represent you directly in a dispute with
a company, it can act when it sees a pattern of possible law violation.
Contact the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP
(382-4357), TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail: Consumer Response Center,
Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; or use the online
complaint form at www.ftc.gov
In the typical domestic telemarketing fraud case, the Commission
investigates and brings a civil action in federal district court,
generally without notifying the telemarketer in advance.
The Commission's initial goal is to halt the ongoing fraud by
obtaining a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction
halting the challenged conduct to prevent further injury to consumers
during litigation over a permanent remedy. The Commission usually
also asks the court to freeze the telemarketer's assets without
prior notice to preserve them for consumer redress if the Commission
ultimately is successful in the litigation.
In many cases, the Commission also asks the court to appoint a
receiver to marshall the telemarketer's assets and protect them
from dissipation during the pendency of the action. At the end
of the case, the court typically enters a permanent injunction
against future fraudulent conduct.
In particularly egregious cases, some telemarketers have been
permanently banned from the telemarketing business, or have been
required to post a hefty bond. Most orders require the telemarketer
to pay monetary redress to injured consumers or, where circumstances
make payment of redress to injured consumers difficult or impossible,
to disgorge its ill-gotten gains. Final orders, whether entered
following litigation or by consent of the defendants, are enforced
through the court's contempt powers.
Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission is the government agency
that administers the national laws for buying and selling stocks,
bonds, and other securities. These laws protect investors by making
sure the stock markets operate fairly and that investors have access
to all material information about publicly-traded companies and
the people who sell stock market investments.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the oldest federal
law enforcement agencies. As the law enforcement arm of the United
States Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is tasked
with the enforcement of over 200 federal laws covering investigations
of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the postal
system to defraud the American public.
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