What Should you do if you are Scammed?
Scammers can be clever and quite convincing. They may come to you via phone calls, emails, or text messages, and it is easy to be duped into providing them with the information that they request, such as money or personal information. Once you realize that you have provided a scammer with any of these things, stay calm and follow these steps for recovering, protecting yourself, and preventing further damage:
If you gave a scammer personal information such as1…
- Social security number. Place a free credit freeze on your credit reports at Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, to block the creation of new accounts. Check your credit reports often. File your taxes early.
- Debit or credit card number. Contact your credit card or bank company and request a new card. Review your transactions regularly.
- Bank account information. Contact your bank, close the account, and open a new account. Review your transactions regularly.
- Online login credentials. Log in to that account, change your password, and change your username, if possible. Change that password anywhere else that you have used it.
- Driver’s license information. Contact your nearest DMV branch to report a lost or stolen license.
- Children’s personal information. Place a free credit freeze on your child’s credit reports at Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, to block the creation of new accounts.
If you paid a scammer2…
- With a credit or debit card. Contact the company or bank, tell them there was a fraudulent charge, and ask them to reverse the transaction and return your money.
- They made an unauthorized transfer from your bank. Contact your bank, tell them it was an unauthorized debit or withdrawal, and ask them to reverse the transaction and return your money.
- With a gift card. Contact the company that issued the gift card, tell them it was used in a scam, and ask for a refund.
- Via wire transfer through a company. Contact the wire transfer company, tell them the transfer was fraudulent, and ask them to reverse the wire transfer and return your money.
- Via wire transfer through your bank. Contact your bank, report the fraudulent wire transfer, and ask them to reverse the wire transfer and return your money.
- Via money transfer app. Report the fraudulent transaction to the money transfer app company and ask them to reverse the payment. If the app is linked to your credit or debit card, report the fraud to your card or bank and aske them to reverse the charge.
- With cash. If you sent the cash via U.S. mail you can contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and ask them to intercept the package. If you used a different delivery service, contact them as soon as possible.
1 FTC, 2023, “When Information Is Lost or Exposed”
2 FTC, 2023, “What To Do if You Were Scammed”