Scams & Fraud

Older adults are inundated with calls, mail, and messages from fraudsters trying to trick them into sending money or revealing personal information. The resources on this page provide information about how older adults can protect themselves against scams and fraud. There are also agencies that investigate reports of scams and try to help victims.

Click on the v-shaped arrow to the right of each program description to view more information.

General Information

Anyone can report a scam or fraudulent business to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB's website has a searchable database of reported scams and information about how to recognize and avoid scams.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 10399 Old Placerville Road, Sacramento, CA 95827 (local BBB)

Phone: (916) 443-6843

Website: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker

The FBI provides information about common scams and how older adults can protect themselves. This website also explains how anyone targeted or victimized by a scam can file a report with the FBI.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 2001 Freedom Way, Roseville, CA 95678 (Sacramento Field Office)

Phone: (916) 746-7000 (Sacramento Field Office)

Website: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/elder-fraud

Anyone who believes they or someone else has been a victim of an Internet crime can file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Complaints may be referred to law enforcement or regulatory agencies for possible investigation.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Website: https://www.ic3.gov/

Anyone who has been a victim of identity theft or targeted by a fraud, scam, or unscrupulous business may report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC uses these reports to investigate and bring cases against bad actors. This federal agency also provides information about how to avoid scams, what to do if you are a victim, ways to keep personal information secure, and how to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580

Phone: (202) 326-2222 or (877) 382-4357

Website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

Note: anyone can sign up to receive free email alerts about new scams

This website provides information about internet-based fraud and scams, including educational resources specifically for older adults and caregivers.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Website: https://fightcybercrime.org/

This non-profit organization provides a variety of services to advocate for crime victims, including a resource center, helpline, and attorney referral service.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Phone: (855) 484-2846 (crime victim helpline) or (202) 467-8700 (main number)

Email: info@victimsofcrime.org

Website: https://victimsofcrime.org/

This non-profit organization provides information about common scams and helps victims of telemarketing or internet fraud file reports with local and federal agencies.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 1701 K St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006

Phone: (202) 835-3323

Email: info@nclnet.org

Website: https://fraud.org/

This hotline, run by the US Department of Justice's Office of Victims of Crime, receives reports of fraud against anyone 60 or older. Specially-trained case managers guide callers through the reporting process and may refer them to other services as needed. The website also provides information about common scams and helpful resources.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone reporting fraud against someone 60 or older

Phone: (833) 372ā€“8311

Website: https://ovc.ojp.gov/program/stop-elder-fraud/providing-help-restoring-hope

This interactive website educates the public about different types of scams and how to avoid falling for them. Users can also sign up for email alerts about new scams.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Website: https://www.scamspotter.org/

This program seeks to combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial fraud and scams targeting older adults. It offers public education and professional training, investigates and prosecutes those who perpetrate scams, funds research, and connects victims and family members with information and resources.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001

Phone: (833) 372-8311

Email: elder.justice@usdoj.gov

Website: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice

Consumer Scams & Fraud

This website provides information about how Californians can file a complaint against a fraudulent business. It also provides information and tips about scams and other consumer issues.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone in California

Email: can send message through Questions or Comments page on website

Website: https://oag.ca.gov/consumers

This state agency licenses and regulates dozens of professions. Consumers can look up licensed professionals, file complaints, and get information and alerts about scams.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone in California

Address: 1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112, Sacramento, CA 95834

Phone: (800) 952-5210

Website: https://www.dca.ca.gov/

This federal agency investigates and takes action against companies that violate consumer protection laws. In addition to receiving complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices, they provide public educational materials and a searchable database of consumer complaints on their website.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 1700 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20552

Phone: (855) 411-2372

Email: CFPB_OlderAmericans@cfpb.gov (email for the Office of Older Americans within the bureau)

Website: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/

Note: consumer complaints can be mailed to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, PO Box 27170, Washington, DC 20038

This unit investigates and prosecutes those who engage in unfair, fraudulent, or dishonest business practices in Sacramento County. In addition to handling consumer fraud complaints, it provides information about scams, how to avoid them, and strategies to resolve consumer issues.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone in Sacramento County

Address: 906 G Street, Suite 730, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 874-6218

Email: ConsumerEnvironmental@sacda.org

Website: https://www.sacda.org/in-the-courtroom/consumer-environmental-protection/consumer-unit/

Government Scams & Fraud

Anyone who suspects their identity has been misused to defraud Medi-Cal or whose health care providers are fraudulently billing the program for unnecessary or unperformed services can make a report to this unit for investigation and possible prosecution.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Phone: (800) 722-0432

Website: https://oag.ca.gov/dmfea/medical

Note: reports can be made by calling the hotline or through the on-line complaint form on the unit's website

This agency provides public education and investigates fraud and scams related to state unemployment, disability, or paid family leave benefits.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: PO Box 826880, MIC 33, Sacramento, CA 94280-0225

Phone: (800) 229-6297

Website: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/fraud.htm

The IRS provides information about tax scams and how to protect yourself from them on its website.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Website: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

The Office of the Inspector General investigates and addresses reports of fraud or abuse involving Social Security benefits. Anyone who has been targeted by a Social Security scam, such as a caller falsely claiming to represent the agency, can report the incident to this office. The Inspector General also provides information about Social Security scams on its website.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: Social Security Fraud Hotline, Office of the Inspector General, PO Box 17785, Baltimore, MD 21235

Phone: (800) 269-0271

Website: https://oig.ssa.gov/

Anyone who has been targeted by an IRS scam or fraud can report the incident to this agency.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Website: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/reportcrime_misconduct.shtml

This federal office investigates and addresses complaints of scams involving HHS services, including Medicare and Medicaid. The office also issues consumer alerts and other scam-related information on its website.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 30 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201

Phone: (800) 447-8477

Website: https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/

Note: fraud reports can be mailed to Office of Inspector General, ATTN: OIG HOTLINE OPERATIONS, P.O. Box 23489, Washington, DC 20026

Identity Theft

The California Attorney General's website offers information about what victims of identity theft can do, including how to register with the California Identity Theft Registry.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone in California

Website: https://oag.ca.gov/idtheft

The city's website provides information about how to prevent identity theft as well as what steps victims of identity theft can do to mitigate the damage and report the crime to federal, state, and local authorities.

This federal government website is a one-stop resource for people to report identity theft to law enforcement and get information about how to recover.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Email: can send message through Chat function on website

Website: https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/

This national non-profit organization offers free information about preventing identity theft and assists identity theft victims.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 2514 Jamacha Rd., Ste. 502-525, El Cajon, CA 92019-4492

Phone: (888) 400-5530

Email: itrc@idtheftcenter.org

Website: https://www.idtheftcenter.org/

Investment Scams & Fraud

This federal agency investigates complaints of fraud or suspicious activity involving futures contracts as well as cryptocurrency or other digital assets. It also provides consumer information about commodity futures trading scams on its website.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20581

Phone: (866) 366ā€“2382

Email: Questions@cftc.gov

Website: https://www.cftc.gov/

This state agency regulates California financial businesses and professionals such as banks, credit unions, and investment advisers. Through its Seniors Against Investment Fraud program, DFPI educates older Californians about common scams, financial and investment fraud, and unscrupulous sales tactics targeted at older adults. DFPI also investigates complaints filed by consumers.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 2101 Arena Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95834

Phone: (866) 275-2677 (Seniors Against Investment Fraud program) or (866) 275-2677 (general inquiries)

Email: outreach@dfpi.ca.gov or Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov

Website: https://dfpi.ca.gov/

Older adults can call this agency to report concerns about how their brokerage accounts are being handled or get help reviewing investment portfolios or account statements. FINRA also provides a variety of investor educational materials and tools to do a background check on a broker or brokerage firm.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone (program targeted to older adults and caregivers)

Address: 1735 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006

Phone: (844) 574-3577

Email: message can be sent through Contact Us page on website

Website: https://www.finra.org/investors/have-problem/helpline-seniors

Real estate fraud that occurs in Sacramento County can be reported to the Special Prosecutions Unit for investigation and possible prosecution.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone in Sacramento County

Address: 906 G Street, Suite 730, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 874-9045

Email: daoffice@sacda.org

Website: https://www.sacda.org/in-the-courtroom/real-estate-fraud/

As part of its mission to protect investors, the SEC issues alerts about investment scams and provides investor educational materials. This federal agency also investigates complaints about investment-related wrongdoing, such as Ponzi schemes or misleading investment information.

Cost: no cost

Who Is Eligible: anyone

Address: 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549

Phone: (800) SEC-0330 or (202) 551-6551

Website: https://www.sec.gov/

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This page was created by Catheryn Koss.