Fraud Victim Assistance - Help for Scam Cases
Helping the Telemarketing Fraud and Investment Scam Victim
These are some of the general, non-therapeutic services that you can provide to lessen or acknowledge the emotional distress of fraud victims:
|expressing sorrow that the crime happened and asking how you can help,|
|paying close attention to signs of psychological trauma, including words, statements, or physical descriptors that imply hopelessness or depression, and, where appropriate, providing referrals to mental health providers, spiritual counselors, other human service agencies, or support groups, especially those sensitive to the needs of fraud victims,|
|inquiring about any specific fears or concerns victims may have about participation in the justice process, paying special attention to victims who are especially fearful that criminal justice participation may result in the disclosure of the crime to family, friends, professional colleagues, clients, or employers,|
|providing information to reduce the chances of re-victimization.
Fraud Aid Support Groups
Victim's Rights Movement
The victims' rights movement, which two decades ago began demanding recognition and help for those who have suffered from violent crimes, is now turning its attention to those injured by white-collar crime.
Their advocates have already succeeded in persuading Congress to allow money from a special fund for crime victims to be used to help those injured by economic crimes.
An excellent directory of victim assistance organizations.
National Organization for Victim Assistance (800) TRY-NOVA
1757 Park Road, N.W.
Washington, DC 2001
Maintains a database of victim-related programs and services around the nation for victim referral.
National Center for Victims of Crime (800) FYI-CALL
2111 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201
Maintains a database of victim-related programs and services around the nation for victim referral. In addition to providing programs and services.
Helps crime victims find restorative justice through the civil justice process. Victims can be referred to legal counsel through their nationwide network of attorneys and civil experts. They also seek to inform and educate attorneys, prosecutors, legal experts, victim service providers, victims, and others about issues surrounding civil litigation.
|Increasing general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime;|
|Improving the quality of representation victims of crime receive in the civil justice system by providing technical support to attorneys through legal research, expert witness referrals, continuing legal education, and practical advice;|
|Referring victims of crime to civil attorneys who may be able to represent them; and|
|Providing Internet access to its
Civil Justice Database which contains more than 11,000 annotated
summaries of civil appellate judicial opinions from cases brought
by crime victims. The database allows searching by crime, location
and topic area.
Government Services Help - Aid for Fraud Victims
Slowly, government and private groups have begun to respond to the needs of these victims. Congress has made the legal change to permit money in the Federal Crime Victims Fund to go to programs that help those injured by economic crimes, although the victims themselves cannot receive direct financial aid.
Previously, this money could be used only to help those hurt by violent crime even though most of the money in the fund comes from fines paid by white-collar criminals.
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Assistant Attorney General
National Institute of Justice
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Office for Victims of Crime
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) authorizes the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) of the U.S. Department of Justice to administer grants to the states for victim services. VOCA funds can be used to purchase, print, or develop publications such as brochures, training manuals for service providers, or victim services directories.
Office of the Comptroller
For grant and funding information contact
U.S. Department of Justice Response Center
National Criminal Justice Reference Service - reports dealing with fraud.
Aid Resource Material for Fraud Victim Assistance Help Providers
For a more detailed explanation of the court process get a copy of "Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities - A Handbook for Fraud Victims Participating in the Federal Criminal Justice System" from the Department of Justice.
The videotape and companion resource guide entitled "Providing Services for White-Collar Crime Victims: A Resource for Victim/ Witness Coordinators", are available from the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center at 800-627-6872. Refer to NCJ# 170593 for this videotape, and NCJ# 170594 for the resource guide.
The Office for Victims of Crime in the Justice Department also has a video for federal employees called "Victims of Fraud: Beyond Financial Loss" to show how devastated these people are.
Local Fraud Victim Aid Support Help Groups
While fraud strikes victims of all age groups and characteristics, victims are often linked by common experiences and reactions based on their victimization. An effective strategy for addressing the special needs of fraud victims may be to establish a support group.
Consideration should be given to including family members and friends of fraud victims in support groups, as they may have experienced emotional trauma at the victimization of a loved one. Additionally, their participation may increase
|their understanding of the emotional impact of fraud so they can better support the victim, and|
|overall community awareness of fraud.|
A trained counselor who is familiar with local resources for assisting fraud victims should facilitate support group discussions.
Issues which might be addressed in the session can range from preventing re-victimization to discussing feelings such as self-blame and a loss of trust in others. In addition to counselors' experiences, supportive listening from other fraud victims can help heal victims' psychological wounds and rebuild confidence and self-esteem.
Additionally, victim/witness coordinators, law enforcement personnel who investigate fraud crimes, prosecutors, consumer protection agencies, nonprofit victim advocacy organizations, and other appropriate persons should be included in the support sessions to provide the following:
|training for group leaders on victim participation in the criminal justice process and the support services available from criminal justice personnel,|
|information about the investigation and prosecution of fraud cases, including realistic expectations for restitution and other avenues of financial recovery and the difficulty of investigating and prosecuting mass victim cases,|
|referral information for emergency financial and emotional support,|
|consumer protection tips and suggestions to reduce the likelihood of re-victimization.|
Consideration should also be given to including victims who have completed their participation in the criminal justice process for no one knows better the emotional and financial toll of fraud crimes than those who have been victims in the past.
Also visit: Fraud Aid - a resource developed by a fraud victim.