According to recent statistics, an estimated 20 billion US dollars was lost to payment scams in 2021. The financial loss had increased by 14% from 2020, which recorded a loss of 17.5 billion US dollars to payment fraud. While law enforcement agencies exist, the money lost to scams only continues to increase. However, where local or national organizations might fail to recover your stolen funds, third-party companies like TheClaimers are efficient. The consultancy company provides a free consultation to all victims of fraud, after which it charges a fee for taking action against scammers and recovering your money from them. So, which authority should you contact first if you’ve been scammed?
3 Easy Steps To Follow If You Fell Victim To Payment Scams:
- Contact Authorities To Protect Yourself From Further Scams
It is essential to prevent your information from falling into the hands of scammers again and prevent misuse of your information, such as banking details, usernames, and passwords. You should collect any information on the scammer or related to the scam that could be useful in recovering your money. This information should include:
- Contact information – names, phone numbers, email addresses, or website links used to contact you.
- The reason why you’re suspicious about a possible scammer or think you’ve been scammed
- What information you’ve disclosed to the scammer – usernames and passwords, or bank account credentials
- Whether you’ve paid any money or not and method of payment – credit/debit card, bank transfer, wire transfer, etc.
- The total amount of money you’ve paid
To prevent the scammer from misusing your data by committing identity theft, follow these steps:
- Change your usernames and passwords to make them more complex and stronger
- Enable ‘two-factor authentication’ features for financial accounts or apps on your devices
- Update anti-malware software on your devices or install one in case you don’t have one
- Contact the National Cyber Security Centre or hire an IT specialist to check your computer in case your accounts were hacked by the scammer.
- Inform your banks about what bank details might have been stolen, such as your account number, debit/credit card numbers, or PIN number
- Frequently check your bank account records for any suspicious transactions you did not authorize, such as withdrawals or payments.
When should you contact the police?
If the scammer has stolen personal information like your full name and address, making you feel unsafe, you should contact your local police immediately. Similarly, you should contact the police in the following situations:
- You transferred money to the scammer in the past 24 hours
- The scammer is threatening you or in your vicinity
- The scammer repeatedly contacts you via phone calls, text messages, or shows up at your house.
- Your device has remotely been hacked by the scammer, and the scammer is pretending to be technical staff willing to fix your device.
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2.Contact Relevant Authorities To Get Your Money Back
Depending on the method you used to pay the scammer, you need to contact the relevant authorities.
You should contact your bank and inform them about the payment scam. Then request a refund because banks can use a chargeback process to reverse the transaction. Most banks reimburse the money you lost to scammers as an ‘authorized push payment.’ Similarly, you should contact the bank immediately if you identify a transaction you did not make, and it’s by the scammer who stole your banking details. The best option would be to freeze your bank account to prevent further loss of funds and reverse any transactions by the scammer as soon as possible.
2.Credit/ Debit Card
If you paid via your credit/debit card but did not receive the product you purchased, it is possible to get your money back. You should contact the bank or company that issued the card, who can then ask the product seller’s bank to refund the money.
3. Report The Scam To National Authorities
If you are in the UK, you should report the scam to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk. After you report the scam, you are provided with a crime reference number which is useful when reporting the fraud to your bank. If you are in the US, you should report the scam to the American organization, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), at reportfraud.ftc.gov. You can also report any contact information used by the scammer to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. If the scam was on an international scale, report the fraud to econsumer.gov. Third-party fund recovery companies like TheClaimers can also help you report scams, take legal action against scammers and recover your funds successfully.
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