What to Do If You Have Been Scammed Over The Phone Or Online [FULL GUIDE 2021]
Do you know what to do if you have been scammed over the phone? Or online? If not, we have good news. In this article, we will take a good look at the options and try to get you the best tips on how to avoid fraud and how to stay safe online. Let’s do this.
Each day we interact with multitudes of people on the internet and over the phone. So you need to find out what to do if you have been scammed. These sorts of scams happen every day, to all kinds of people—and no one is safe. Sometimes we’re speaking or interacting with strangers, while other times, we are dealing with people we believe to be friends or family.
In any case, you need to know what to do if you have been scammed over the phone or online. Read on for more useful information but also don’t forget the following articles after you finish this one:
- How to stop scam calls
- How to block Scam Likely calls
- NEW: How to report phone scams
- How to report a scam website
- How to report scam emails
Understand What To Do If You Have Been Scammed Online
There are many cons, grifts, and schemes that people will attempt to pull on their victims online and over the phone. When dealing with online and phone scams, the list is even more complicated.
The first step is to understand what sort of scam you have been a victim of. Consider the implications of the fraud, including financial, medical, social, and criminal possibilities. Only once you understand the scam that you have been made a victim of will you know the right steps moving forward to help your situation.
Essentially, here is what to do if you think you have been scammed.
Comprehend Your Situation
You need to understand how you have been affected. This means checking all of your various bank accounts, credit accounts, and other potential targets. Depending on your financial situation, you need to do some thorough checking to see where you may have been affected by a scam.
Once you know which accounts may have been affected and how much you may have lost, you can confidently move forward.
Contact a National Credit Reporting Agency and File a Report
If your scam involves finances or money—especially credit-related and credit card scams, it is crucial that you immediately contact one of the three national credit agencies as soon as possible. This will allow you to file a report that will stop scammers from using your financials for gain. Additionally, reporting the scam will help others avoid the same problem in the future. The more people speak up about fraud, the easier it is to detect people trying to victimize others. With online scams and phone scams, this is critical.
Here are some important telephone numbers:
Equifax (888) 766-0008
TransUnion (800) 680-7289
Experian (888) 397-3742
Assess Your Technology: Computer and Phone
One way that scammers continually victimize their targets is to use their own technology against them. Both phones and computers can be targeted by viruses or malware that can allow a scammer to steal information and data continuously.
This can happen at any time—even much later, after a scammer first makes contact with their victim. If you think your computer or telephone has been compromised by a hardware or software virus or malware, it pays to have a professional take a look at it to be sure.
Prepare to Prove Who You Are
Once you have been the victim of a scam, you’re going to need to be able to prove who you are to the groups, governments, or authorities you’re dealing with. This might involve the simple matter of a driver’s license or other ID, but you may need to go as far as receiving an affidavit through the FTC in the case of identity theft.
Although this seems cumbersome, it is one of the most important parts of recovering from a scam. You can’t take your life back unless you can prove it’s your life, which can be one of the more cumbersome issues in recovering.
Some people make the mistake of ignoring the results of the scam against them, hoping that it won’t happen again and wishing to avoid embarrassment. This is a bad idea, and it pays to be proactive. Ensure you contact the authorities, monitor your bank information, and keep close track of your credit information.
Whether you have already been the victim of a scam or just want to be more cautious in the future, it is vital to be proactive. You will learn more about what to do if you have been scammed over the phone.
If you want to get serious with your proactivity, you can even hire a company specializing in monitoring and protecting your information online. This can help you become a victim, and if you are victimized, you can stop the damage from spreading too far. Shop carefully, though, because not all monitoring and protection services are the same.
Contact the Authorities
It may be challenging to get help from local authorities such as the police in online scams. The most likely chance local police have to help you is if the fraud occurred within the last 24 hours. The immediacy of such a case may make it possible for them to help you out. However, it can be difficult for traditional policing to solve cases like these, but it is still essential to take your case to the police to create a paper trail. If you are involved in a more serious online or phone scam, you will need to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for help.
As you move through the process, make sure you keep track of your steps and actions. Creating a paper trail as you communicate with authorities, banks, and creditors can help you with your situation as you proceed.
Warning: if you ever feel threatened or in fear for your safety, you must contact the police by dialing 911 right away. Nothing is more important than your safety.
The latest issue popping up is scams associated with the Coronavirus and related matters. These schemes are coming in the form of hospital scams, financial scams, and health insurance scams. In these challenging times, scammers seek to take advantage of the worried, confused, and afraid by harping on Coronavirus fears in their scams. Some scammers are trying to sell medical equipment at higher prices or are offering masks at gouged retail costs.
Email scammers are using the Coronavirus to imitate government or authority offices. The same goes for insurance companies, which are being spoofed to get medical information or money from their victims. Lastly, beware of people soliciting you online, on the phone, or in-person for assistance with Coronavirus-related problems. If something seems too good to be true, or something seems off, confirm and double-check everything.
You May Be Able to Get Restitution
If you have already been scammed over the phone or online, it is worth it to try and get your money back. The way you approach this will vary significantly based on the type of scam and payment method you may have used. If you paid by credit card, get in touch with your creditors directly to see if they offer fraud protection. Many banks and financial institutions offer the service to their customers.
If you paid via Amazon, CashApp, Venmo, Paypal, or other online channels, check with their customer service to see what your options are. If you paid via direct wire, it might be challenging to get your money back. Contact the wire company you used immediately upon suspicion of fraud or scam. This is the most complicated way of trying to secure your money, so try to avoid using wire services if at all possible.
If you are in charge of someone else’s bank account via the power of attorney or living will, you will need to take extra steps to contact the bank or creditors on their behalf. Be prepared to prove your identity have all relevant documents related to the victim on hand.
Managing Your Devices/Electronics When You’ve Been Scammed
There are more tips on what to do if you have been scammed online. Let’s look.
In this modern world, there are many ways that your own computers, phones, or other devices could be compromised. Here is some of them:
- Log out of online accounts. Remember that if someone has physically stolen your computer or your phone, they can access all the accounts saved on that device. Use another device to log out of all other devices immediately and change your passwords.
- Check for backdoors. If you have physical possession of your computer and phone, there is still a chance that a scammer has access to it through an electronic “back door.” Ensure your computer or phone is not infected with a virus or malware that would allow someone to access your machine. Install the latest updates and run antivirus software.
- Online banking. If you think your online banking account may have been compromised, you need to contact your bank right away. The same goes for your debit card information and PIN. If any of this information, including your personal identification number, has been stolen, contact your bank immediately.
- Passwords. No matter what the case, if you’ve been the victim of an online or phone scam, make sure you change your passwords right away. This includes passwords to physical devices, passwords to online accounts, and codes to access phones and other devices. Do not keep all of your passwords in one place, and consider using a software program that provides complex, encrypted passwords to use on all of your accounts.
Phone Scams: How To Report
Let your family and friends know about this article by sharing it on all social media platforms. You can also officially do it to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More
Subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter if you want to be the first to find out the most prevalent scams every week. You’ll receive periodic emails – no spam. Meanwhile, besides knowing what to do if you have been scammed over the phone educate yourself with a few other fraud-related articles. They are listed right under this paragraph. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
Here are some must-reads for the end:
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