I received the following response from the state investigator who contacted me yesterday:
Since I work for the Bureau of Consumer Protection in [my state], I only deal with [my state's] consumers.
However, most states do have a similar Department/Bureau within their state government. Sometimes it is under the Attorney General or the Department of Justice, depending on how the state government is set up.
If you can, please post on your site for any consumers that believe they were ripped off in a similar manner, and these groups take on a lot of different names, to file a complaint with their state department. If they don't know what the department is in their state, have them file one with their state representative. They can also file an Identity Theft complaint, I believe they can do this through their bank.
When they file the complaint, it is best for them to (in detail) describe what happened, from the telephone call (including the telephone number that showed up on their caller ID), to the withdrawal from their bank account. Even if their bank has reimbursed the money lost, they should still file. It is also helpful if the consumer can obtain a copy of the check, both front and back. They can, if they choose to, black out their account information, however, leave the back unmarked, since that will provide information for the investigators.
Also, please let these people know that even if they are on the Federal or state No Call list, these people are still getting through to them.
And, urge people not to ever give out personal information (date of birth, address, social security, bank account) over the telephone, especially on calls that they had not initiated.
Ok: never give out personal information (date of birth, address, social security, bank account) over the telephone, especially on calls that you have not initiated.
I'm glad to know at least one northern midwest state famous for its dairy products is taking forward action on this matter.
I admit my grandmother and I didn't file a complaint with any California state agencies because (1) we didn't know which one to contact and (2) we'd have no confidence it would make any difference. This message offers some encouragement and I will try to track down the appropriate state agency when I have time.
If you know a state or local agency that victims of this type of fraud can contact, please feel free to add the information in the comments to this post. I see this blog is becoming a clearinghouse/gathering point for people searching this issue and I hope it will continue.