Scams against people have been a problem for a long time, but in recent years, they have reached new heights. While anyone can become a victim, criminals often target the elderly.
If someone scammed you, there might be legal recourse. Rather than hide in shame, you need to speak out. Although you might feel embarrassed, in reality, you are among millions of victims. There is nothing to be ashamed of in coming forward. In fact, it is the only way to seek restitution.
File a Report
Since a scam is a criminal act, start by contacting your local law enforcement agency. After you file a police report, the agency will begin an investigation to try to identify the culprit. Even if it is unable to recover any monetary loss, you going forward serves as a warning to others, helping them to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Common Scam: Call from ‘IRS’
One of the biggest scams at the moment comes in the form of a phone call from the “IRS.” Although these calls are not actually from this government agency, they are forceful and demanding enough that many people comply. Some of these calls are recorded messages while others are live. In either case, the perpetrator on the other end advises victims that the IRS has filed a lawsuit against them and that to avoid further action, they must pay a particular sum of money right away.
Notify These Institutions of Scam
If you were the victim of this or another scam, providing an individual with your credit/debit card or banking information is a surefire way to lose money. Therefore, notify all of your financial institutions that someone scammed you. Your credit card issuer or bank will immediately freeze or cancel your account.
If caught early enough, the perpetrator may not get anything. However, if the culprit stole your money, the institutions’ action could prevent further theft.
You also need to get in touch with all three reporting credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, and do the same with the Social Security office, regardless of your age. The goal is to prevent the scammer from breaching your accounts to steal money or your personal information.
Also, you want to call the Federal Trade Commission, which handles all types of consumer complaints. As a result, it can send out a public warning, advising others of the risk. Then, contact your state attorney’s office. This government entity tracks all reported scams and fraud. It will create a public service announcement in an attempt to stop others from becoming victims.
Hire a Fraud Attorney
If during the police investigation the criminal’s identity is discovered, and if that individual is in the United States, it is essential for you to hire a reputable attorney who handles cases of fraud. With an experienced attorney working on your behalf, you may be able to go after the scammer to recover some or all of the monies lost. Sadly, dealing with scams that originate overseas is complicated. However, an attorney can lead you in the right direction to avoid becoming a victim of another scam.