Prosecuting crooks remains a legal challenge

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – The process of prosecuting scammers can be long, but Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the harsh reality is that many criminals walk away unscathed.

“Those who engage in this behavior generally do not live within the jurisdiction of the state of Alabama,” Marshall said. “A lot of them don’t live in the continental United States.”

This makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement to recover the victim’s money and hold these culprits accountable.

“The ability to prevent that from happening is the key thing for us to try to make sure people don’t fall victim to these crimes,” he said.

Scammers call people, posing as government agencies. They may ask you for money and threaten to arrest you.

Scammers also call grandparents, claiming their grandchild is in jail and asking for their bail to be posted. Marshall explained that these calls are fraudulent and target vulnerable people.

The Attorney General’s Office is taking action through its Consumer Protection Division. People can submit a Claim Form online to get help from a consumer specialist. You can also call 1-800-392-5658 or 334-242-7335.

Right now the Attorney General says they get 15 to 20 calls a week.

“People calling in to tell us really sad stories about where they’ve been defrauded,” Marshall said.

If you see money flowing out of your bank account, Marshall recommends that you contact your bank immediately and then file a police report.

If you’ve ever given out private information, like your Social Security number, the attorney general says to submit a fraud report to the Federal Trade Commission to be placed on a national registry.

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About Charles D. Goolsby

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