: How To Report Scams and Frauds in

How to Report Scams and Frauds in California
Government agency resources: phone numbers, links to their websites and contact email addresses


How to report scams, frauds, schemes and crimes in California

Most scams violate federal laws and regulations, but a few are investigated by state or local authorities.  In general, if a scam uses the national services, like the US mail postal service, that would be reported to the related national agency, like the USPS, (see this page for reporting federal agencies). Scams involving businesses and scammers operating from a location within a state's borders would often be reported to a state agency. City, county, regional, and state consumer offices offer a variety of important services. They might mediate complaints, conduct investigations, prosecute offenders of consumer laws, license and regulate professional service providers, provide educational materials and advocate for consumer rights. To save time, call before sending a written complaint. Ask if the office handles the type of complaint you have and if complaint forms are provided. See the California list of state agencies below:


California Scam Reporting Agencies and Consumer Protection Offices

State Consumer Protection Offices

  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
    Email:
    dca@dca.ca.gov.
    Address: California Department of Consumer Affairs
    Consumer Information Division
    1625 N. Market Blvd., Suite N 112
    Sacramento, CA 95834
    Phone Number: 916- 445-1254
    Toll-free: 1-800-952-5210
    TTY: 916-928-1227; 1-800-326-2297
  • California Office of the Attorney General
    Address: California Office of the Attorney General
    Public Inquiry Unit
    PO Box 944255
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
    Phone Number: 916-322-3360
    Toll-free: 1-800-952-5225 (CA)
    TTY: 1-800-735-2929
  • Contractors State License Board
    Address: Contractors State License Board
    9821 Business Park Dr.
    Sacramento, CA 95827
    Phone Number: 916-255-3900 (Headquarters) 916-255-2924 (Northern CA.) 562-345-7600 (Southern CA.)
    Toll-free: 1-800-321-2752
  • California Bureau of Automotive Repair
    Email:
    BAREditor@dca.ca.gov.
    Address: California Bureau of Automotive Repair
    Department of Consumer Affairs
    10949 N. Mather Blvd.
    Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
    Toll-free: 1-800-952-5210 (Consumer Questions) 1-866-799-3811 (Complaint Intake)

County Consumer Protection Offices

City Consumer Protection Offices

Banking Authorities

The officials listed in this section regulate and supervise state-chartered banks. Many of them handle or refer problems and complaints about other types of financial institutions as well. Some also answer general questions about banking and consumer credit. If you are dealing with a federally chartered bank, check Federal Agencies.

  • Department of Business Oversight
    Address: Department of Business Oversight
    Consumer Services
    1515 K St., Suite 200
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone Number: 916-327-7585
    Toll-free: 1-866-275-2677 (CA)

Insurance Regulators

Each state has its own laws and regulations for each type of insurance. The officials listed in this section enforce these laws. Many of these offices can also provide you with information to help you make informed insurance buying decisions.

  • Department of Insurance
    Address: Department of Insurance
    Consumer Services Division
    300 S. Spring St., South Tower
    Los Angeles, CA 90013
    Phone Number: 213-897-8921
    Toll-free: 1-800-927-4357 (CA)
    TTY: 1-800-482-4833
  • Department of Managed Health Care, California HMO Help Center
    Address: Department of Managed Health Care, California HMO Help Center
    980 9th St., Suite 500
    Sacramento, CA 95814-2725
    Toll-free: 1-888-466-2219
    TTY: 1-877-688-9891

Securities Administrators

Each state has its own laws and regulations for securities brokers and securities - including stocks, mutual funds, commodities, real estate, etc. The officials and agencies listed in this section enforce these laws and regulations. Many of these offices can also provide information to help you make informed investment decisions.

Utility Commissions

State Utility Commissions regulate services and rates for gas, electricity and telephones within your state. In some states, the utility commissions regulate other services such as water, transportation, and the moving of household goods. Many utility commissions handle consumer complaints. Sometimes, if a number of complaints are received about the same utility matter, they will conduct investigations.

  • Public Utilities Commission
    Address: Public Utilities Commission
    Consumer Affairs Branch
    505 Van Ness Ave.
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Phone Number: 415-703-2782
    Toll-free: 1-800-649-7570 (CA)
    TTY: 1-866-836-7825


General Precautions and Recommendations- What to do with suspicious emails:

  • Only open email or IM attachments that come from a trusted source and that are expected
  • Use an anti-virus/anti-spam package (we recommend Norton 360 or Norton Internet Security scan all attachments prior to opening. Click here to see Norton 360 2013 on Amazon.com .
  • Delete the messages without opening any attachments
  • Do not click on links in emails that come from people you do not know and trust, even if it looks like it comes from a company you know.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date
  • Keep your operating system up to date with current security patches. Click here for an article that describes how to do this.

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!

 

 


 

For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.