Reporting is key to having any consumer protection when you've fallen victim to a scam. Protections through your financial institution might help you recover some or all of your stolen money.
Scams of the Week 8/9/2022
August 9, 2022
Why report? Electronic Fund Transfer Act may provide some protection, as well as the policies of your financial institution. EFTA applies to any Peer-to-peer mobile payment transaction that meets the definition of EFTA. The EFTA requires that after a financial institution receives oral or written notice of an error from the consumer the financial institution must investigate.
Who do you report to:
- Report to your local PD, Boise Police if you are in the City of Boise.
- Report to your financial institution, which ever entities are involved from your Bank, Credit Union, Credit Card, or Peer-to-Peer payment platform (Zelle,Venmo, CashApp, PayPal etc..)
- Then report to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ When you report with the FTC it goes to the Consumer Sentinel database, which is available to Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement across the country. You will not hear back from the FTC, so you can also report with the FBI https://www.fbi.gov/
If a consumer has provided timely notice of an error under 12 CFR 1005.11(b)(1) and the financial institution determines that the error was an unauthorized EFT, the liability protections in Regulation E section 1005.6 would apply. Depending on the circumstances regarding the unauthorized EFT and the timing of the reporting, a consumer may or may not have some liability for the unauthorized EFT. See 12 CFR 1005.6(b). It is important to know an unauthorized EFT includes a transfer initiated by a person who obtained the access device from the consumer through fraud or robbery. Similarly, when a consumer is fraudulently induced into sharing account access information with a third party, and a third party uses that information to make an EFT from the consumer’s account, the transfer is an unauthorized EFT under Regulation E.
This is a new and important distinction that was changed recently as prior if a victim was scammed (induced through fraud) to provide access whether it be through a hack, phishing, vishing, smishing, or another form of social engineering this many times covered by Regulation E as an unauthorized EFT. Regulation E sets forth the conditions in which consumers may be held liable for unauthorized transfers, and its commentary expressly states that negligence by the consumer cannot be used as the basis for imposing greater liability than is permissible under Regulation E. 12 CFR 1005.6; Comment 6(b)-2. For example, consumer behavior that may constitute negligence under state law, such as situations where the consumer wrote the PIN on a debit card or on a piece of paper kept with the card, does not affect the consumer's liability for unauthorized transfers under Regulation E. Comment 1005.6(b)-2.
Most scams are online in nature and cross not only state lines but country borders which means your local police are limited by jurisdiction and what we can do in the investigation. Boise Police will do what they can to stop the fraud/scam, help to recover funds, and educate. Most banks will ask for a police report to open an investigation. So report it.
Most financial institutions will follow these regulations, but that’s not always the case. Some victims report with larger institutions it is hard to actually speak to a person that can or is willing to provide information. What some have done next:
- Report with the Better Business Bureau BBB https://www.bbb.org/file-a-complaint
- Report to the media - There are so many scam victims and many media outlets will report this public interest story to bring awareness.
- File civil suits - Victims will sometimes do this when they believe they are not at fault, or the fraud falls under consumer protection regulations.
Persistence and understanding the process will always be important for a victim of fraud.