Retirees, How to Report Fraud and Scams

File a complaint with the feds, consumer advocates and industry watchdogs if your are victimized by financial scammers. Here's how.

(Image credit: Westend61 / Frank Roder (Westend61 / Frank Roder (Photographer) - [None])

Scammers tend to go where the money is, and older adults with retirement savings increasingly are targets. But you have options to report fraud -- and fight back.

For problems with mortgages, debt collection, credit and other financial products, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (opens in new tab). The CFPB notes that your complaint helps the agency identify problems for potential action and protect other consumers.

if you find unauthorized charges on your credit card or a caller asks for your Social Security number or other financial information, call AARP's Fraud Watch Network helpline (opens in new tab) at 877-908-3360. The hotline is run by AARP staff and volunteers with extensive training and experience fighting elder fraud. You can also sign up for biweekly watchdog alerts or check the scam tracking map (opens in new tab) for fraud trends.

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If you think your broker made an unauthorized trade or other suspicious move, contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Securities Helpline for Seniors at 844-574-3577. Finra is a self-regulatory organization governing broker-dealers. You can file a complaint (opens in new tab) online. If you are aware of investment scams or unfair practices, you can also file a tip (opens in new tab) with Finra.

Mary Kane
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Mary Kane is a financial writer and editor who has specialized in covering fringe financial services, such as payday loans and prepaid debit cards. She has written or edited for Reuters, the Washington Post, BillMoyers.com, MSNBC, Scripps Media Center, and more. She also was an Alicia Patterson Fellow, focusing on consumer finance and financial literacy, and a national correspondent for Newhouse Newspapers in Washington, DC. She covered the subprime mortgage crisis for the pathbreaking online site The Washington Independent, and later served as its editor. She is a two-time winner of the Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She also is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches a course on journalism and publishing in the digital age. She came to Kiplinger in March 2017.