What to do if you are the victim of a scam

If you suspect you’ve shared information with a scammer or notice fraudulent charges on an account, it’s important to act as soon as possible.

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received 2.8 million fraud reports, with more than $5.8 billion reported lost. The most commonly reported category was impersonation scams, followed by online shopping scams.

We often get questions from our viewers about these different types of scams, a topic we cover a lot at VERIFY to help people avoid falling victim to them. But sometimes viewers contact us for guidance after fearing they might fall into a scam.

Here are three things you can do to protect yourself after giving your personal information to a scammer or noticing suspicious activity on a device or account.


As soon as you realize your information could be compromised, it’s important to take action. Here are the steps you can take:

1. Report the scam to the police, your banking institution and your credit bureau

If your personal information, such as your Social Security number, is compromised — or if you’ve been tricked into losing money — you should contact the police, your bank and the three main credit bureaus.

To report a scam to the police, you need to call or visit the anti-fraud department of your local police department. Before calling, gather your profile and information. Here are some examples of what to bring:

  • Bank statements or credit card charges
  • email
  • Phone call and text history
  • Screenshots
  • Links to websites

Contact your bank or financial institution if you have shared payment information with a scammer.

If you paid with a credit or debit card, or there was an unauthorized transfer from your account, you can notify your bank that it was a fraudulent charge and ask them to reverse the transaction. translate or pay you back. You can also request a refund if you sent a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram.

If you give a scammer your social security number, they have the potential to draw lines of credit – like applying for a loan or credit card. If that’s the case, you should contact the three main credit bureaus and freeze your credit.

“Doing so will prevent lenders and others from fully accessing your credit report, which will prevent them from extending credit,” the Tennessee Attorney General’s office said.

According to Equifax, one of the major credit bureaus, the security freeze restricts access to your credit report so people can’t extend credit in your name. When you want to apply for credit or when you know your credit is safe, you can request a temporary or permanent removal of the security freeze.

Here’s how to contact the three main offices:

These credit bureaus may also add fraud alerts to warn potential creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft.

Experian says once you detect and report fraud, fraudulent transactions or accounts can be deleted and will no longer affect your credit score.

More words VERIFICATION: How to avoid credit repair scams

2. Change your password and add two-factor authentication to your account

The FTC says “a password is the padlock on your account door.”

A lot of personal information is kept in online accounts, including your email, bank accounts, and tax returns, so it’s important to change your password. Here are tips to consider when creating a new password:

  • Make sure the password is at least 12 characters long
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Set up multi-factor or two-factor authentication requirements
  • Choose a password manager, like LastPass, that helps keep track of your passwords
  • Choose a security question that only you know the answer to

Get Cyber ​​Safe, a public awareness campaign created in Canada, has this helpful YouTube video on how to choose strong passwords.

By setting up two-factor authentication, if you or someone else tries to access one of your accounts, an alert will be sent to the app or a code will be sent via text message.

No one can log into your account, even if they have a password, if they don’t have an additional code.

If you’ve been locked out of your account and haven’t set up another security measure, such as a security question or a backup email account, you’ll need to contact customer service.

If someone is using your information to open a new account or make a purchase, you can get help at IdentityTheft.gov.

More words VERIFICATION: 5 tips to spot email scams

3. Check Computers and Other Devices

Scammers not only try to target your account or money, they can also get into your computer. According to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, scammers do this by placing unwanted phone calls or placing misleading pop-up ads to try to introduce malware or viruses to the machine. count.

Here’s what to do if you think your device has been hacked by fraudsters:

  • Check to make sure that your anti-virus program is up to date and running and that your system is free of malware and keyboard recorders. If the computer cannot run any programs, disconnect it from the Internet and take it to a reputable computer technician to have it checked.
  • If a scammer takes control of your cell phone, contact your mobile service provider. Most major mobile service providers can turn off phone service at your request.

Once you have access to your device again, change the password and pin number.

If you or someone you know is the victim of a scam, you can file a report online with the FTC or call them at 877-382-4357. You can also report scams to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or the BBB Fraud Tracker.

More words VERIFICATION: Watch out for these popular holiday scams

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so you can understand what is right and wrong. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts, and YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Looking for more information “

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https://www.king5.com/article/news/verify/scams-verify/how-to-protect-yourself-after-falling-victim-to-scam/536-4c34cab1-c451-45ea-a423-383893d1d5d1 What to do if you are the victim of a scam

Edmund DeMarche

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