Have you been scammed out of money or worry that someone might be trying to steal from you, on or offline? Whether you’ve already lost funds or are afraid that a fraudster, catfish, or romance scammer is trying to dupe you and steal your finances, these are the steps that you should take! You don’t have to stay silent or be a victim. Use this 5 step process to safeguard your assets, report financial crimes, and keep your money where it belongs… in your bank account!
5 Steps on What To Do When Scammed Out of Money
Remember, if you’ve been scammed out of money, you are not alone. Regardless of whether your scammer was someone you knew, an online connection, or a stranger, don’t be surprised if you feel betrayed. This is common and that fear reaction will occur whether you lost twenty dollars or thousands. You may not have chosen to lose money or be victimized, but you can take action.
THIS IS WHAT TO DO…
Step 1: Document Everything
The moment that you realize or suspect that you’ve been scammed or that someone is trying to financially trick or betray you, your job as a reporter of events begins. Take screenshots of everything that the scammer has sent to you and save all interaction— including voicemails, letters, a web trail showing suspicious online activity, text messages, scammer’s profiles, and emails.
Safely store and save all documentation using an easy-to-find file name and, if you want to find out the scammer’s real location, look at their online profiles and report that to police —consider completing a smart search by name, phone number, email address, username, or photograph to find any linked accounts or other profiles.
Step 2: Protect Your Other Assets
Even if you believe that a scammer only stole the gift cards or money that you gave them willingly (even if it was under false pretenses, since they were lying to you), don’t let down your guard. They may have hacked into your accounts and acquired your Social Security Number, bank account, and financial logins, or access to your credit or email accounts. Underestimating a scammer’s reach can cause you total financial ruin! Be thorough!
The moment that you notice suspicious activity, on or offline, safeguard your online passwords, add 2-step authentication to your accounts, update your account security questions, and set up notifications with your bank or credit cards to alert you of suspicious activity and/or transactions and purchases.
Step 3: Report the Crime
Report the financial scam to the following sources:
Police: File a police report with your local police station. Provide them with all the details and proof of the crime. Even if they don’t actively pursue your case (because it occurred online), the report may help you fight fraudulent purchases or help you receive extended protection coverage for your financial or credit accounts.
Get a Credit Freeze: Place a credit freeze on your credit report: See Here. This is an important step, especially if you believe that any of your personal identifiers (Social Security Number, Driver’s License, Bank, or Credit Card Information, etc.) have been stolen through identity theft, a data breach, or by a romance scammer or fraudster.
Report the Crime Online: The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) logs complaints about any crime involving the internet: See Here. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) logs complaints about consumer and online fraud. Is it essential that you file the details of your situation, as the FTC will look for trends by scammers: See Here.
Step 4: Do a Comprehensive Online Search
Make the move to protect your information in the future. Search your own name, online, and discover the information that scammers are able to uncover about you. A comprehensive search may give scammers access to private or personal information you never expected. Make your social accounts private and control what fraudsters, scammers, tricksters, and thieves could learn about you. Social Catfish scours the web and pulls information from data sources that scammers use.
Step 5: Take Your Power Back!
Don’t let a scammer also steal your joy! As terrible as being scammed is and as real and devastating as the effects are, people who commit financial crimes shouldn’t be given the power to ruin every aspect of your life. You are a survivor and happiness can be yours again.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You on What To Do When Scammed Out of Money!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with when trying to figure out what to do when scammed out of money.
Follow our Social Catfish blog to learn about the scams that happen to people just like you. Help to empower the public to share their stories, by sharing your own and help other victims let go of their shame.
Comment on our blog, use our search fields regularly (especially with new online connections and for your own internet exposure management), and follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
If you’re nursing a broken heart after being tricked by a romance scammer, be sure to connect and let us know your story, today! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make your story known to our audience. You will have the chance to be featured in one of our YouTube videos and blog posts, and educate our audience on your experiences to prevent them from getting scammed.