What Steps Must Be Taken If You Have Been A Victim Of A Scam?
An increasing percentage of people these days are spending hours of their time using social media. These social media platforms and online networks allow us to connect with our loved ones and friends. It is a great way to connect and strengthen your relationships within your network.
On the downside, it can also lead to various types of online scams and frauds, which have severe repercussions. The fraudsters use different mediums such as quizzes and hidden URLs to get access to your financial details. Some of the steps that you should follow if you have been a victim of a scam are:
- Report the Scam
- Report disaster scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud
- Report common scams to the Federal Trade Commission
- Report online and international scams
You may also have some questions about what will happen next, such as:
- What should I do if I paid the scammer?
- If the scammer is found, what penalties will they face?
Report the Scam
If you have been scammed online, the first thing that you should do is change your password and details. If the scammer has accessed your bank account, you should inform the bank or report the whole event. It is often difficult to determine to whom you should report a scamming incident. You can start by reporting it to the local police and state consumer protection office.
Report Disaster Scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud
Any scam related to a disaster, COVID-19, or any other emergency should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. You can report the whole incident over the phone or by mail.
Report Common Scams To The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission or FTC is an independent agency responsible for collecting all the scam reports. They collect information about most scams, identity theft, and other frauds.
Make sure that you have all the information and documents to support your case. You can either report the scam online or call their toll-free number to file a complaint.
Reporting Online and International Scams
Online scams and frauds are increasing in number at an alarming rate. Hackers and cyber scammers are taking advantage of this and even scamming people from different countries. There are several cases in the United States originating from outside of the country.
You must visit econsumer.gov to report an incident of international crime. For scams related to fake websites, emails, or malware, you must report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
What Should I Do If I Paid The Scammer?
You should immediately inform your bank of the fraudulent charge. If applicable, you should also contact the company that issued you the credit card/debit card/gift card used to pay the scammer. You should do these things promptly after the scam occurs, and not wait to report the incident.
Sometimes a scanner may also ask to connect to your computer so they can access it remotely. If this has happened to you, you must also contact an IT professional to ensure your computer is free of any malware and viruses. You must immediately change all your passwords and choose strong new passwords to protect yourself from future scams.
If The Scammer Is Found, What Penalties Will They Face?
Committing any fraud is illegal, and those guilty of fraud may have to pay hefty penalties. The punishment and penalty will depend on the state and the situation. The consequences of a criminal charge can be a felony or misdemeanor.
Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors and may result in long prison sentences and fines. Cyber scammers are often charged with wire fraud, which is a crime committed using electronic devices.
If you have been charged with a scam or any other crime, you must consider taking the necessary legal action. Speak to a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney and discuss how you can protect your rights.