Steps to take after being scammed, and how to rebuild.

by admin on September 23, 2009

Here are the steps to take after being scammed and start the rebuilding process. People fall for scams all the time do not feel like you are the only one. You need a clear head on your shoulders to take the steps needed to get everything back on track.

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Did you use your credit card?

If you used your credit card online and fell victim to a scam the first thing you must do is call your bank. Inform them everything that went on and make sure that they cancel your credit card and reissue a new number. This is important because your credit card number could be being used for things you do not know about. This is the first step in your recovery process. If they refuse ask to speak to the supervisor of who you are talking too and repeat the steps until you get the required results. Some credit cards may need information in writing remember you have 60 days of the date of the statement to make this notice. If you make this notice your total liability is $50 dollars. If you fail to notify as they ask or it takes you longer then 60 days then you have to pay for all charges.

If you have to make your notice in writing make sure you include the following:

  • Your name and address
  • Your account number
  • A notice that you believe the charges listed are fraudulent
  • The amount of the charge(s)

We recommend this letter sent via certified mail so you can verify the date that the credit card company receives it.

Did you use your checking account online?

Immediately call your bank and tell them what went on and follow up with a visit to your local branch. Ask them to close that account you will be able to open a new account and get a new checking account number so that it is not too big of an inconvenience to you. This is an easy fix. Keep in mind most banks will not close the account right away as they will let anything out come into the bank so make sure you keep up with the charges so you can dispute any fraudulent charges.

Was your Social Security Number compromised?

If so immediately put a fraud report on the three credit reporting companies. You have that right and it can not be disputed. There are two different types of alerts an initial fraud alert which will stay on your credit report for at least 90 days, and an extended alert which will stay in your file for seven years. To place these alerts you are required to give proof of your identity which will need your Social Security Number. If you ask for an extended alert you will have to give an identity theft report. This report will include any report your have filed with federal, state, or any local law enforcement agency.

In order to place a fraud report you only have to call one of the three agencies as they will tell the others. You can contact them at:

Get all the information you can find on what happened

Gather everything you can find, the website name if it was a website, the domain, time of the charge and any other information you can find and write it down. This information will be the stepping stone on filing with the needed authorities. Stop and take 10 minutes to write down everything you can remember on the event. If this information is written down you will be able to hash over it quickly with someone without stammering so you can get your point across.

If a company was imitated or logos were used report to the company that was imitated or used. Most organisations have details on their website on how to report these types of issues.

File a complaint with the local authorities and tell watchdog organisations like the Better Business Bureau. While the BBB can not police the action it will give information to others on what happened so that you can protect others. You can also tell us at scam-trap@scamtimes.com and we will look into it further and possibly send out an alert to all our readership.

You can report criminal issues to the Internet Crime Complaint Center who is in partnership with the FBI were complaints are reported, reviewed and forwarded to the right agency. You can find the IC3 organisation on the web at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

If you are  in the United States file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and if you believe this scam is distributed internationally make sure you tell the eConsumer.gov which deals with cross border scams and complaints. Cyber crimes need reported no mater what.

If you need more help contact us at scam-trap@scamtimes.com and we will attempt to help route you in the right directions please give all information you can on the scam minus any account information or personal information that you want to protect. (DO NOT send credit card numbers, social security etc over mail at any time anyway)

As always if you have feedback we welcome your comments just make sure you follow our comment policy. Did I miss anything?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Schlegel October 31, 2009 at 1:56 am

Great post and site, Matt

For most of the work at home type scams, people should also file complaints with the AG of their state and any state the company has a presence in. There is a list of AG offices here:

http://www.naag.org/attorneys_general.php

Also, they should file complaints with the BBB (I’m not a fan of the BBB, but this is a good use of it)…because the FTC reviews BBB complaints when they are considering filing against a company.
BBB Complaint form:

https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx

http://www.helpwithmybank.gov is a helpful site for helping people gain insight into their credit card rights and banking rights and actions they can take in various situations.

matt October 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm

@Paul thanks for the comment and great advice!

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