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Avoid Scams and Frauds

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation helps protect Vermonters against unfair and unlawful business practices in banking, securities (investments), insurance and captive insurance. Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid as well as educational and other information to assist you in safeguarding your assets. 


Cryptocurrency Scams

DFR presents three short Chainalysis videos with important information about cryptocurrency.

Poster of dark blue neon NYSE list showing bitcoin with title of video

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

Banking

How do I report a suspected incident of Banking Fraud?

If 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 to file a complaint: email dfr.bnkconsumer@vermont.gov, call 802-828-3307, or file your complaint online.

Additional Resources

Insurance

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.

How do I report a suspected incident of Insurance Fraud?

If you believe that you have been a victim of insurance fraud, or if you are aware of an instance of insurance fraud, contact the Insurance Division's consumer services section to file a complaint against an insurance company call 800-964-1784, email dfr.insuranceinfo@vermont.gov, or go to File a Complaint.

You can also visit NAIC and complete the form provided by the Online Fraud Reporting System (OFRS). Through the OFRS, the NAIC and state regulators are encouraging consumers to take a proactive role in identifying and reporting insurance fraud. Not only does this minimize future instances of insurance fraud, but it also reduces unnecessary insurance costs.

Stop. Call. Confirm.

If you are unsure about the insurance company or agent you are dealing with, STOP before signing any paperwork or writing a check; CALL your state insurance department - easily reached by phone; and CONFIRM 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 consumer resources page of NAIC.

Securities

All investments carry risk. Market and economic changes are a part of investing and can affect your return. But losses from fraud are not acceptable. Con artists cost Americans millions of dollars every year. The Securities Division is committed to protecting Vermont investors from investment scams and abusive sales practices. As part of our continuing investor education program, you may find these resources helpful.

Before investing, state securities regulators urge investors to call their offices and ask if the individual selling the investment is licensed to do so. Additionally, investors must also 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


Additional Resources

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 "Checking Your Credit Report" message from Vermont Credit Unions for more details.

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.