So, You’ve Been Scammed. What Are the Next Steps?
Finding out or suspecting that you’re a victim of scammers is a horrible feeling. You might feel like all is lost, but there are things you can do to minimize the impact. Follow the steps below as soon as you realize you’ve been scammed to avoid losing any more money and report the scammers to protect yourself and others.
Step 1: Stop All Contact with the Scammers
The first thing to do when you get scammed is to immediately cease any and all contact you have with them — and don’t give them any more money.
Scammers will string you along as far as they can with promises that you’ll get your money back after just one more deposit and things like that.
Don’t reply to any further emails, calls, social media messages, or texts from the scammers, and block them from contacting you wherever possible.
Step 2: Don’t Panic, Take Action
It’s perfectly normal to feel distraught and hopeless after you lose money to scammers, but the sooner you take action, the better your chances are of recovering at least some of your money.
It’s very important to follow the next steps to prevent scammers from stealing any more of your hard-earned funds, especially if they have hold of your credit card or bank info or other sensitive data that could be used to perpetrate identity theft.
Step 3: Gather the Evidence
The next thing you need to do before you report a scammer is gather all the evidence you have of the scam. This can include bank and credit card statements with deposits and transactions you made, as well as all communications you have with the scammers.
For example, let’s say you deposited funds to a fraudulent investment broker, then realized you were scammed when you couldn’t withdraw your funds and their “customer service” ignored your messages. To gather the evidence for such a case, download copies of your financial records showing the dates and sums of all the payments you made, then save copies of all the emails you sent to the scammers and received no response to.
This is just one example of the type of evidence you can use. If you have social media messages or texts from the scammers on your phone, screenshot them and save the pictures somewhere safe so you don’t accidentally delete or lose them.
Ultimately, gathering as much evidence as you can will significantly increase your odds of a positive outcome, so no detail is too small.
Step 4: Call Your Bank Straight Away
Now that you have all the evidence of the scam, you’ll want to contact your bank right away. If there is a transaction that hasn’t been finalized yet, you can try to have your bank cancel or put a hold on the transaction to prevent it from going through.
If the scammers have your bank account or credit card info, you should ask the bank to close your account and transfer your funds to a new one, or cancel your credit card and send you a replacement. This will prevent the scammers from stealing any more from you.
If you have already made payments to scammers via your credit card, you can present the evidence to your bank (or credit card provider) and ask them to do a chargeback, which means they reverse the charge and the funds go back to your card as if the transaction never happened.
Step 5: Report the Scammer
It’s important to report scams to the proper authorities to help protect yourself and others in the community. How do I report a scammer, you ask? Well, it works a little differently in every country, but below you will find out some country-specific processes, as well as some more general tips for reporting scammers.
Where To Report a Scammer in the USA
Call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Agency
In the United States, you can report a scammer to the FTC. This is the main agency that collects scam reports in the US, and you can reach them by phone at 1-877-382-4357. Keep in mind that you have to call between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM, EST to report a scam by phone. Alternatively, you can report a scam to the FTC online here: reportfraud.ftc.gov
Where To Report a Scammer in the UK
Call Action Fraud
Action Fraud is the agency in the UK that deals with online scams and fraud for England and Wales. You can report a scammer to Action Fraud online here: reporting.actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040. Note that if you are in Scotland, you must report the scam to Police Scotland instead.
Where to Report a Scammer in Australia
AFSA or SCAMwatch
If you’re in Australia, report scams to either the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) or via SCAMwatch.
The AFSA primarily deals with impersonation scams, and you can find information about how to report scams to them here: https://www.afsa.gov.au/about-us/complaints-and-reviews/verify-or-report-scam
For all other scams, you can report them using this form on the SCAMwatch website: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
How To Report a Scam Anywhere Else
Search the Government Website for an Official Number
For all other countries, the best way to find out where to report scammers is to Google the country’s official government website and search the site for a scam reporting phone number, or other information about the proper avenues to use for reporting scammers.
You can also Google something like “how do you report a scammer in” and the name of the country you’re in. This should pull up official websites for agencies that deal with different types of scams in your country.
How To Report a Scammer to Facebook
If you fall victim to a scam on Facebook, such as a Facebook Marketplace scam, you can report the scammers directly to Facebook via the platform. Just click the three dots in the top right corner of any post, message, or profile, then click the option for “Report.” Follow the on-screen instructions to report a scam to Facebook.
How To Report a Scammer’s Phone Number
If scammers have reached you via a specific phone number, you can report the phone number itself to the specific agency that deals with scams for your country. Either call them or fill out the required online forms to report the scammers’ phone number.
How To Get Your Scammed Money Back
Once you’ve followed all the steps above to prevent further losses and report a scammer, there’s one more thing you can do to try and get your money back: contact a fund recovery specialist like PayBack.
Payback specializes in recovering funds from a wide variety of scams, including binary options, cryptocurrency, forex, and stock trading scams. We will do everything we can to find a scammer that has targeted you and press them to get your money back.
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, make sure to report it to the appropriate agencies, then don’t hesitate to contact us to start reviewing your case as soon as possible and see what further actions we can take to mitigate your losses.