What to do if you fall for a scam

close up shot of fake money

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. Sometimes we panic and don’t think things through, other times, the scammers are just so darn convincing.

Here’s what to do if you or a loved one are successfully targeted by a scammer.

Did you allow the scammer to access your computer or phone? Remove anything they installed and then run a security scam with your device’s software to search for malware. Since the crook had access to information on your phone, you’ll want to change the passwords and log-ins for all of your accounts. That includes email, social media, and even banking information.

Does the scammer have your personal information? If the scammer has your SSN, date of birth, or driver’s license number, you’ll want to head over to  IdentityTheft.gov to follow their instructions for protection yourself. Also, if you gave out your username or password to any account or device, you need to change it immediately.

Did you give the scammer money? If you pay a scammer, getting that money back can be difficult. But here are some steps that can help.

If you paid by debit or credit card, immediately contact the bank and notify them about the fraudulent charge. If the scammer transferred money from your account, let the bank know that was an unauthorized transaction.

If you sent the money via a wire transfer, contact the company immediately and let them know it was a fraudulent transaction. If you sent the money via a payment app like CashApp or PayPal, contact the company and attempt to reverse the transfer.

If you purchased gift cards for the scammer, contact the company – though the odds are those gift cards have already been used. If you sent cash through the mail, contact the Post Office, they may be able to intercept the shipment. Call 877-876-2455.

Don’t wait! In every one of these cases, the faster you report the issue, the greater the chance you might be able to get stop the scammers from stealing your information and your money.

Please make sure you report the scam to the FTC at this link: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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