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Reporting scams to FTC prompts gov’t action, leading to potential refund for victims



MONROE, La. – The Federal Trade Commission has helped return millions of dollars to consumers who thought they’d lost their money forever in various scams. The BBB says 1.7 million people nationwide and in 64 countries have received payments totaling $483 million thanks to the FTC’s actions.

Jo-Ann Deal with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Louisiana says one of their biggest settlements was with Western Union – at around $300 million dollars.

“The FTC is still working on contacting all the individuals who were damaged or hurt by a Western Union transfer of money,” explains Deal.

Deal says many people wonder how the refund process works. She says the BBB works closely with the FTC by taking local consumers’ reports and relaying them to the FTC.

“Every refund program must have the information supplied by the company who committed the crime that makes it very important that you report.”

She says the FTC usually needs a large number of complaints before they can take action.

“The refunds to people depend principally upon whether the FTC has a reliable list of customers so it’s important that you report scams so that the FTC can take action and obtain those lists,” says Deal. “You must identify who is eligible for a refund, determine how the money will be divided, send refunds, update names and addresses, consider whether an additional check is feasible in the event that they are not properly funded, and send any remaining money to the treasury. These are all things the FTC does to make sure that consumers are protected.”

And Deal advises using a credit card for purchases because your financial institution will be able to help you get your money back easier.

“The Federal Trade Commission will notify you by letter if there is an action taking place in which you filed a complaint or an action in which your financial records come up in their investigation.”

If you have any questions you can call the BBB at (318) 797-1330. Their office is still working from home, so calls will be sent to voicemail and then returned. Make sure your phone number is not anonymous.