A number of government offices and agencies accept reports about suspected business fraud, and these can be a good start if a consumer, vendor, or member of the public believes a business is engaging in fraudulent activities. It may also be possible to report fraud to a professional organization, depending on the nature of the business and whether it belongs to a group like a bar association or Better Business Bureau. In all cases, it is helpful to have as much information as possible about the situation, and to be prepared to leave contact information in the event of additional questions or concerns.
In cases of suspected business fraud, the first step for reporting involves thinking about the type of fraud involved. This could include identity theft, tax evasion, or misleading consumers. The most appropriate place to file a report depends on the type of fraud. Consumers who have been personally defrauded may want to contact an attorney general's office to file a complaint. For identity theft, law enforcement agencies are appropriate, while tax authorities want to hear about tax fraud.
If a business belongs to a professional organization, it is also a good idea to report business fraud to that organization. It will conduct an investigation to learn more about the situation and may file reports with government agencies, suspend a license to do business under its auspices, or facilitate reparations like providing compensation to a consumer who experienced losses. These organizations maintain a high standard of professionalism and rely in part on reports from members of the public to identify members who are not meeting their standards.
When reporting business fraud, information about the business and the situation should be as detailed as possible. It should include the name, location, and contact information of the business, names of any person the individual filing the report may have interacted with, and supporting information like any communications from the business. Consumers should keep copies of statements, disclosures, and other declarations so they can use them to report business fraud or resolve disputes.
Some reporters may prefer to remain anonymous because they are acting as interested citizens, rather than complaining about a situation where they are personally involved. Government agencies may accept confidential tips, depending on their nature, while others may not, but will maintain confidentiality if people file reports and wish to remain unknown outside the agency. Attorneys general usually do not accept anonymous fraud reports, as part of their work involves resolving the situation, and they need to be able to contact the consumer to discuss reparations for fraud.