The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation helps protect Vermonters against unfair and unlawful business practices in banking, securities (investments) and insurance. Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid as well as educational and other information to assist you in safeguarding your assets.
Council of Vermont Elders Advocate Marichel Vaught: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
This COVEcast - Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies | Schemes, Scams & Lies: Cryptocurrencies by Marichel Vaught features talks with Department of Financial Regulation representatives about the mysteries, risks and potential scams associated with cryptocurrencies.
Resources to Help Identify, Avoid and Report
Report an Incident of Banking Fraud
If you think you have been a victim of banking fraud, or if you are aware of an instance of banking fraud, contact the DFR Banking Division Consumer Services by email: email@example.com, phone: 802-828-3307 or file your complaint online.
- Elder Financial Abuse Prevention Reference Guide
- Financial Resources for Young Adults
- NCUA Fraud Prevention Center
- US Department of the Treasury
- Federal Trade Commission
What Is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud occurs when an insurance company, agent, adjuster or consumer commits a deliberate deception in order to obtain an illegitimate gain. It can occur during the process of buying, using, selling or underwriting insurance.
Fake insurance companies defraud consumers by collecting premiums for bogus policies with no intention of paying claims. These "companies" might offer policies at costs that are significantly lower than competitors' prices or they might be difficult to reach by phone – if there is a listed phone number at all. Consumers should check in advance that they are dealing with a legitimate, licensed insurer before signing an application for a policy. You can also check the status of a company license online.
Report an Incident of Suspected Insurance Fraud
If you have been a victim of insurance fraud, or if you are aware of an instance of insurance fraud, contact DFR Insurance Division Consumer Services by phone: 800-964-1784 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or file your complaint online here.
You also can visit NAIC - National Association of Insurance Commissioners - and complete the form provided by the Online Fraud Reporting System (OFRS). Through the OFRS, the NAIC and state regulators are encouraging consumers and those in the industry to take a proactive role in identifying and reporting insurance fraud. This minimizes future instances of insurance fraud and reduces unnecessary insurance costs.
Stop. Call. Confirm.
If you have questions or concerns about an insurance company or an agent:
• STOP before signing any paperwork or writing a check;
• CALL your state insurance department;
• CONFIRM that the company or agent offering insurance is legitimate and licensed in the state.
For more information about Vermont auto, home, life and health insurance options, as well as tips for choosing the coverage that is right for you and your family, visit the NAIC consumer resources website.
All investments carry risk. Market and economic changes are part of investing and can affect your returns. Losses from fraud, though, are unacceptable. Con artists cost Americans millions of dollars annually. The DFR Securities Division is committed to protecting Vermont investors from investment scams and abusive sales practices. The below resources are part of its continuing investor education program, and many find them helpful.
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Investigate Before Investing
State securities regulators urge investors to call them - before investing - and ask whether the individual selling the investment is legally licensed. It's also important to ask whether the investment itself is registered. To check out an investment or salesperson, contact the Vermont Securities Division at 802-828-3420 or DFR.SecuritiesInfo@vermont.gov.
Report a Suspected Securities / Investment Fraud
If you suspect fraud related to securities and other investments, you can file a securities complaint by mail or online about an investment advisor or broker-dealer related to stocks, bonds, promissory notes, settlements, variable annuities, mutual funds, or other investments.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - Money Smart for Older Adults: Avoid Financial Exploitation
Losing money or possessions to scams, fraud and exploitation can be devastating, especially for older adults who might be unable to earn back what's been lost. From CFPB: "The Money Smart for Older Adults program can help older adults, family caregivers, and others prevent, recognize, and report scams, fraud, and financial exploitation."
Your Credit Report - Early Identification of Potential Identity Theft, Fraud
Your credit report provides another way to remain proactive against fraud. Routine checks of your credit file are useful in spotting red flags to potential theft, fraud. Watch this short video by DFR - "Checking Your Credit Report" - to learn how to learn how to find your credit report, know your credit story and to understand how your score was calculated.
How to Recognize Romance Impostor Scams - Tips from the Department of Financial Regulation
Student Loan Scammers - FTC Consumer Alert
The recent announcement of the one-time federal student loan debt relief plan brought out the scammers. This FTC consumer alert on student loan scammers can help protect you. Be sure to get your information directly from the Department of Education.
National Adult Protective Services Association - Financial Exploitation
The NAPSA website contains an extensive selection of information including an entire section on how to recognize financial exploitation of elderly and vulnerable adults, where to report it and what to do to prevent it.