Monday, February 23, 2009

BUHAY AMERICA TIP:
Identifying Types of Fraud


Do you know what to do if you become a victim of fraud?


While we can knock on wood and hope that we don't become victims, the reality is, there's always a chance we might become one. In today's economic chaos, fraud incidents are becoming more rampant.


Ang masakit, kung minsan mga kababayan pa natin mismo ang nanloloko. So, mas mabuti ng mag-ingat at maghanda tayo.


There are a lot of our kababayans who have experienced some type of fraud at some point but didn't know where to get information, or didn't want to speak up because they are somehow ashamed na naloko sila. That's just the kind of mind-set that perpetrators of fraud thrive on.


Just remember, kahit nasa ibang bansa tayo, di kayo nag-iisa. Ask for help.


This is the first in a series of posts about this topic.


I recently contacted lawyer Carmina Ocampo, a kababayan at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and she gave this information:


The steps a victim should take really depends on the type of fraud they are a victim of. There are many different types of consumer fraud: identity theft, credit card fraud, telemarketing fraud, mail order fraud, elderly abuse, internet fraud, debt collection, spam/phishing schemes, real estate fraud, etc. They might be scammed by businesses, landlords, tenants, sales people, telemarketers, con artists, people pretending to be immigration lawyers, etc. There are so many different types of fraud and , different steps a person should take depending on what type of fraud they are victim of.

1. A consumer should first contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs. The website is
http://dca.lacounty.gov/ There are lots of great articles on the website about how to protect yourself from fraud, and what you can do if you are the victim of fraud.

Here are some phone numbers they can call at the LA County Dept. of Consumer Affairs:
· Consumer Protection (800) 593-8222 : Consumers should call this number to get information about steps they should take. Investigators resolve disputes a consumer has with purchases, credit, automobiles, landlord tenant, identity theft and other consumer problems. They investigate complaints or provide counseling and referrals.

· Real Estate Fraud and Homeowner Assistance: (800) 973-3370: They provide counseling, investigate complaints, and serve as the central reporting agency for real estate fraud. They can help with problems concerning: A home purchase or sale, Refinancing, Contractors, Real estate fraud, Foreclosure, Undeveloped land sales

· Small Claims Advisors(213) 974-9759: They help people use the Small Claims Court. Their advisors give people the information they need to get their cases started, Serve court papers, Prepare for court, Collect or pay a judgment

· Dispute Settlement Service(213) 974-0825 : Instead of going to court, mediators can help you resolve disputes with neighbors, businesses, and others. mediators are trained to be neutral and unbiased.

· Identity Theft Unit(213) 974-9459: They can help people deal with credit card and credit reporting companies, bill collectors and others. They will help get your finances back to normal and stop thieves from making new charges.
· Senior Abuse and Fraud Protection(213) 974-9778: staff investigates cases of financial fraud and abuse against seniors. This effort is in partnership with the Department of Community & Senior Services.
· Media inquiries: They have a phone number for MEDIA INQUIRIES, in case you want to ask them more questions. 213-974-9761
· Articles based on types of fraud:
o Co-signers of loans: Here is an article about what will happen if you co-sign a loan for someone else, and they do not pay the loan:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/tsContractCoSigning.html
o Elderly abuse: Here is a link to articles about elderly abuse:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/mnSeniors.htm
o Identity theft:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/mnIdentTheft.htm,
o Renters:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/mnRenters.htm
o Credit scams:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/mnCredit.htm
o How to go to small claims court:
http://dca.lacounty.gov/mnPlaintiffs.htm



[photo credit: gigcatmidhudson.org]

1 comment:

prosy said...

Like that you are contacting bonafide lawyers to get your questions answered. Thank you for your good research in doing your blogs! Very professional!