The San Francisco Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit is tasked with the investigation of financial crimes including but not limited to: access card fraud, Bunco cases, check fraud, counterfeit currency, counterfeit trademark, embezzlement, false financial statements, forgery, identity theft, internet fraud, elder financial abuse, non-return of rental property, real estate and notary fraud, and theft by false pretense or deceit.
Financial crimes include phone scams, counterfeit money, identity theft, and embezzlement. Scammers often target the elderly, low-income people, and business owners. In some cases, scammers have posed as IRS, courts, or utility representatives to cheat victims out of their money. Members of San Francisco’s Chinese community have also been targeted by con artists promising relief from a curse or illness in exchange for cash. In all of these cases, the SFPD is here to help.
If you believe you have been the victim of a financial crime:
Go to your nearest police station
Make sure to collect evidence of the crime:
Evidence includes eyewitness accounts or documents. Please contact the financial institutions involved as they are not allowed to provide police with information without your consent. Useful documents include account statements, receipts, and canceled checks.
Perhaps you are concerned about a financial issue that falls short of a crime, such as a dispute over a bill. If you cannot show that a crime has been committed, you may still be able to pursue civil remedies, such as making your complaint to a regulatory agency, entering mediation or arbitration with the other party, or even suing in civil court to recover damages. You may wish to consult with an attorney or take your case to the San Francisco Small Claims court, which will hear it free of charge.
SVU officers are trained to respond to financial crimes targeting the elderly. If you need to appoint a conservator, you may want to contact the San Francisco City and County Department of Aging and Adult Services at 1-415-355-3555.
Financial Elder Abuse Useful Resources:
- Adult Protective Services (For Elder and Dependent Abuse) Please Call (415) 355-6700 or Visit The Adult Abuse Website
- Public Guardian (Conservator Ship) Please call (415) 355-3555 or Visit The Public Guardian Website
- Institute on Aging Please Call (415) 750-4111 or Visit The Institute on Aging Website
- To report bad checks, call the San Francisco District Attorney’s Bad Check Enforcement Unit, at 1-415-734-3115.
- To report a theft of mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors, at 1-877-876-2455.
- To report a crime involving counterfeit currency, contact the U.S. Secret Service San Francisco field office at 1-415-576-1210.
- Federal Trade Commission (External Website)
- FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (External Website)
- Identity Theft Informational Flyer (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What happens to fraud reports that aren't investigated?
All fraud reports are entered into our system for reporting and statistical purposes.
2. What is the most common reason for my credit card or check fraud report not being assigned for investigation?
Our staff of 8 Inspectors gets approximately 8,000 fraud reports a year. Investigators are not assigned to reports if the victim or company involved does not suffer a financial loss because the financial institution will reimburse the account owner.
3. What other reasons prevent my report from being assigned?
There is insufficient evidence, such as eyewitnesses and associated documents, to determine and prove in court, who did this crime, or where and when they did it. Based upon the facts contained in your police report, we were unable to determine where the crime occurred or which agency has jurisdiction to investigate. You should contact the financial institution(s) involved to obtain this information, as they are not allowed to provide police with customer account information. When you are able to tell us where the crime occurred, we can forward your report to the appropriate agency for investigation. Or, you can make a report directly to that agency, if you like.
4. What do I need to have my fraud report reviewed?
The court requires documentation of the financial loss being reported, such as account statements, application forms, credit receipts, or canceled checks.
5. If my problem is not a crime, what else can I do?
If a situation does not violate the law, you may be able to pursue civil remedies, such as making your complaint to a regulatory agency, entering mediation or arbitration with the other party, or even suing in civil court to recover damages. You may wish to consult with an attorney or the San Francisco Small Claims court, which conducts free sessions for those interested.
6. How do I file a report involving "NSF" (non-sufficient funds) checks or closed account checks?
Reports of bad checks should be filed with the District Attorney's Bad Check Enforcement Unit, 732 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94103, tel. (415) 551-9503.
7. How do I report internet crime?
8. Why is my case not being investigated?
There is insufficient evidence, such as eyewitnesses and associated documents, to determine and prove in court, who did this crime, or where and when they did it.
9. How do I report a crime involving theft of mail?
10. How do I report a crime involving counterfeit currency?
These reports are sent to U.S. Secret Service for investigation. You can contact them for further information at tel. (415) 744-9026.
11. I want to talk to someone about my report.
If you need to speak to someone about your report, call us at the Fraud Detail, tel. (415) 553-1521.
12. How can I get someone to speak to my community group regarding fraud?
If you need a speaker to talk about fraud prevention to your community group located in San Francisco, send a letter to the Lieutenant in charge at the above address requesting a speaker and include the place, date, time, subject you want to be discussed, the number of attendees, and a contact telephone number or call us at the Fraud Detail, tel. (415) 553-1521.