Scams are becoming increasingly common, and being the victim of a scam can be a confusing and frightening experience. You may feel embarrassed, ashamed or even helpless, but it is important to remember that you are not alone and there are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself and contain the damage.
Step 1: Alert Your Bank or Credit Card Company
The first step is to reach out to your bank or credit card company and report the fraud. They can help you secure any compromised accounts and cancel fraudulent transactions. This will help to prevent further charges from being made to your account and will also alert them to watch for future suspicious activity.
Step 2: Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report
Next, you should contact the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and place a fraud alert on your credit file. This will make it more difficult for scammers to open new accounts in your name or run up debts on your existing account if they got ahold of your personal information.
Step 3: Collect All Documentation Related to the Scam
Keep all documentation related to the scam, including any emails, messages, call logs, letters or receipts. This will be helpful if you need to take legal action against the scammer in the future.
Step 4: File a Report with Your Local Police Department
File a report with your local police department. In the United States, you can file an Identity Theft Report with your local police department. This report can help you get fraudulent charges removed from your credit reports and stop creditors from calling you about debts that aren’t yours.
Step 5: Contact Your State Attorneys General’s Office
Finally, you should contact your State Attorneys General’s office and let them know what happened. They may be able to offer additional resources or help with filing a civil lawsuit against the scammer.
After you’ve taken these 5 immediate actions steps, it’s important to report the scam and reinforce your security.