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Fraud Happened to Me! Now What?

Posted by CFTC Staff /
SCAM letters on money

We all believe it won't happen to us. We're too smart or too careful to become victims of investment fraud. Still, each year, Americans who are smart and careful find themselves as victims of cunning fraudsters who steal the hard earned funds entrusted to them. Fraud doesn't occur because a victim lacks competence or is greedy or ignorant. It occurs because fraudsters are "professional" thieves who use emotions, logic, and deceit to steal.

Hopefully, you won't be victimized by a fraudster. However, if you are, there are resources that may help you find out if you can recover your financial loss and may also help you recover from the mental and emotional anguish that often accompany fraud.

One of the more difficult parts of being an investment fraud victim is knowing who to report to and how to proceed. To help alleviate that stress and provide a path forward, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's Investor Education Foundation, in partnership with the National Center for Victims of Crime, produced the Taking Action: Investment Fraud Victim Recovery Checklist. This checklist provides consumers with steps to take as well as reporting advice. While no agency or organization can promise financial recovery, using this resource may give victims an opportunity at financial recovery. Additionally, following these steps may lead to the apprehension of fraudsters and prevent others from being defrauded.

So, should you find yourself the victim of financial fraud, check out the Taking Action: Investment Fraud Victim Recovery Checklist. Additional information can be found on the CFTC's website. As always, be sure to check the background of your financial professional annually and every time you hire a new one at


This article was prepared for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) SmartCheck program by the CFTC's Office of Consumer Outreach. The article is provided for general informational purposes and does not provide legal or investment advice to any individual or entity. Please consult with your own legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.

The CFTC does not endorse, sponsor, or recommend the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, or the National Center for Victims of Crime. The CFTC does not endorse any product, service, process, or enterprise linked to from our site. Links to other websites or enterprises are provided solely for the convenience and education of consumers. The CFTC does not assume any responsibility for the content or operation of other websites or entities.

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