Scams are unfortunately a common phenomenon on the internet, and even the most internet-savvy person can fall victim to them. Because you rarely interact with the person on the other end of your internet connection, it’s easy to be fooled by seemingly legitimate websites or other common scams. Regardless of the reason why you’ve fallen for an internet scam, it’s important for you to discover what’s been taken from you and take the right steps to establish your digital security and safety. There are several steps that are crucial for you to take, and this article will lay them out for you.
Because all aspects of your online identity are so interconnected these days, falling victim to a scam probably means that your financial information and security is at risk. One of the first steps to take if you believe you’ve been scammed is to contact your bank and credit card companies. This will allow you to cancel your cards and be issued new ones.
You should also ask your bank and credit card companies to check your recent transactions. Recognizing fraudulent transactions at this stage will make things much easier in the long run. You should also take the time to change the password on all your accounts. This will make it so that, if the scammer has gotten the usernames and passwords for your financial accounts, you will be able to go about your day-to-day business with confidence.
There are three national credit bureaus that deal with various aspects of your credit rating and reports. These agencies are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. If you’ve been scammed online, you should reach out to the credit bureaus to put your credit reports on restricted access, also called a credit freeze. This will keep anyone who you haven’t provided with a PIN from viewing your credit report. This means that the scammer won’t be able to open accounts or take out loans using your name, since the credit check customary when doing these things won’t be able to be done.
Unfortunately, a credit freeze will also prevent you from opening accounts, taking out loans, and doing other tasks. If you believe you’ll need to do things that require a credit report in the near future, you should consider setting up a fraud alert instead. There are two types of fraud alerts that you can set up – initial fraud alerts and extended fraud alerts. Remember that you only have to set up an initial fraud alert once, since the agency that receives your request will pass the message along to the other credit bureaus.
Fraud alerts ask potential creditors to verify your information, which makes it more difficult for a scammer to steal your identity. Initial alerts last 90 days and can be extended as many times as you need, while extended alerts last 7 years.
The last step before filing a report with the police is to file a report with the FTC. The FTC will then ask you a few questions, help you with the next steps, and even allow you to create an account with them that will give you access to resources that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
They can also provide you with an identity theft affidavit and expert witnesses, such as Peter Kent (https://internet-expert-witness.peterkentconsulting.com/), both which will help you navigate the police report process. Filing a police report varies depending on where you are, but it always helps to have seasoned professionals who are experienced with navigating scamming and identity theft on your side.
After taking these steps, you’ll have made it much more difficult for the scammer to use your information in a way that will be harmful for you. There are, however, ways for a scammer to use your information that are more difficult to fight against. Keeping an eye on your credit, therefore, is crucial, since issues there will be the first sign that the scammer is using your information. Remaining vigilant is the best way to ensure that you don’t fall victim to the more financially dangerous aspects of internet scams.