You went online and opened an email that you think was from your bank, or you may have received a call from the IRS asking for payment before making charges. You panicked and sent them money, and then you realized that you were a victim of fraud. Now you may be worried, confused and wondering what to do next.

Fraud is everywhere these days. They are in our email, online and thousands are managed by phone every day. With so many scammers targeting potential victims, there’s a good chance you’ll be deceived one day. Tap or click here to see five viral scams that can cost you big money.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have fallen victim to a scam, there are a few steps you will want to take right away. Let’s look at what you can do to mitigate the damage.

1. Block the fraudster at the point of attack

If you have opened a suspicious email, answered an unsolicited automated call, or feel that you have been the subject of a scam, stop any contact. Write down any information about the potential fraudster and block his email address or phone number.

If you haven’t sent money yet, great! If you have sent money, do not send more – even if you are threatened with imprisonment or lawsuits, this is a trick!

2. Contact the appropriate channels immediately

Depending on the scheme and the way you pay, you will need to start contacting people immediately. The FTC provides an excellent breakdown of who to contact and how.

  • You have paid by debit / credit card: Contact your card issuer immediately, whether it’s a credit or debit card, and ask the fraud department. Tell them when you made the payment and identify it as a fraudulent charge for illegal fraud. See if they cancel the fee and refund your money.
  • You paid with your bank account: Call your bank as soon as you discover the fraudulent charge and ask them to help you mark the transaction and get your money back.
  • You paid with a gift card: Contact the issuer of the gift card and ask to speak to the fraud department, if any. If not, tell your customer service representative that you have been the victim of a scam and ask if they can recover your losses. Do not throw away the gift card or gift receipt.
  • You have sent a bank transfer via service: Contact Western Union, MoneyGram, or the company you used and tell them it was a scam and part of a scam. Ask them to reverse the bank transfer and return your money.
  • You have sent a bank transfer through your bank: Call your bank immediately. Report the transfer as fraudulent and ask if they can freeze or reverse the bank transfer and refund your money.
  • You have sent money through a money app like Venmo: Report the fraud directly to the company to see if they can cancel the payment. If you have linked your debit / credit card to the app, you will also need to report the fraud to your bank or credit card company and request a cancellation fee.

3. Protect yourself

If you have fallen victim to a criminal to get your money or personal information, the best thing you can do is protect yourself from what lies ahead. Once you call the agency to report that you have been the victim of a scam, there are things you can do to protect yourself from further attacks.

  • Gather important information: You will want an email from scammers, all screenshots of your conversation and all relevant details, including payments.
  • Report it to the police: In order for fraud to be declared a crime, you will have to report it to the police. Banks may need a copy of the report to issue a refund.
  • Request a credit freeze or short-term fraud alert: The fraud alert will stay for 90 days and reduce the risk of identity theft. All you have to do is contact one of the credit reporting agencies and they will contact the other two for you. Freezing is a step above the signal of fraud, but you will have to be prepared to wait for your loan to be unfrozen if you need it for things like buying or renting a home.
  • Sign up for credit monitoringg: There are many free options and you will want to monitor your credit for future fraudulent fees.
  • Change all your passwords: Tap or click here for ways to create stronger passwords.
  • Download new antivirus software or update your current software: Tap or click here for the best antivirus options for PC and Mac.
  • Report the fraud to the FTC: The Federal Trade Commission maintains an ongoing database of all fraud and may be able to provide you with useful information on the following steps you need to take. Report scams, scams and bad business practices on FTC here.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration: If you have given fraudsters your social security number, contact us SSA here tell them your number has been compromised.
  • Keep track of your bank accounts: If you see any suspicious activity, report it immediately.
  • Back up your data: To protect yourself from losing important files, you need to back up your information. We recommend our sponsor, I drive. Save 50% on your first year when you use the Kim promotional code when making a payment.

You may feel uncomfortable if you are a victim of fraud, but this is more common than most people think. If you have been a victim, taking these steps will give you the best chance to recover all the lost money and prevent further damage.

3 immediate steps to take if you fell for a scam

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