Scammers and frauds seem to be increasing at an alarming rate. Whether you’re media literate or not, they have a way of getting the best of all. Let’s assume, you’ve just been scammed; you found out your investments were just another Ponzi scheme, what would you do?
The faster you can become proactive, the better you help protect yourself and others. There is usually no guarantee that you’d see all of your stolen money back, but recovering losses is more than that. It includes protecting you against further theft and reporting the fraud.
After discovery, the first steps are very important as it focuses on stopping further loss and putting information about the scheme and the offenders together. It is after that you report the crimes to the authorities quickly. These procedures, though simple, are needed if you’re to take legal proceedings. Reporting fraud cases quickly even if you think they are insignificant makes it easy for the law to take its full course. Follow this guide to learn how to deal with fraud legally.
Tips To Deal With Fraud Legally
1. Stop Any Further Investment
You’re wondering how this is a way to deal with fraud legally? It is because in the face of fake promises of large returns, pulling your money out might seem difficult. Some schemes find a way to persuade their victims to keep sending funds or fees to recover their lost money even after they suspect something is off.
These kinds of fee frauds are increasing at an alarming rate online. You should note that legitimate brokers would deduct any fees or commissions directly from your account, they would never request additional money to release your money or collect taxes. This is why the initial step you should take is to stop any form of investment with them.
Also, take note of recovery frauds. What these do is target recent victims and capitalize on their dilemma claiming to be able to recover the stolen money back if the victims can give a donation or some fees. People who engage in such acts are often disguised as government officials, loss recovery companies, or even attorneys.
2. Collect Every Necessary Documents And Information
While you can still remember the events, create a timeline and gather necessary documents that could be helpful for you when you want to report the incident. Pen down the conversations you had with the scammers alongside the dates, locations, or times (if you remember). Other information you’d need to document include:
- Their social media handles, posts, and other online data (screenshot of their website)
- Their emails which you can save virtually or print with header information.
- Anything or souvenirs received, including envelopes.
- Account details (bank account inclusive), statements, and infographic materials.
- Phone numbers you’ve called them on.
- If cryptocurrencies were used, include them alongside wallet addresses.
- Other payment methods such as canceled checks, wire transfers, money orders, or prepaid cards.
3. Report The Situation To The Authorities
Inform the authorities the moment you realize you’ve been a victim of fraud. Whether it was a breach of contract, fraud involving commodity futures, digital assets, commodity pools, swaps, binary options, other derivatives, foreign exchange, or some type of fraud you don’t know how or where to send a complaint to; report quickly. You could reach out to the police or better still the Department of Justice; they usually have a directory that can help.
Federal agencies usually work hand in hand and can also show you where to complain or help forward your complaint to the right agency. The police or district attorney would be helpful if the fraud took place in your local community. If you have to file for an insurance claim, you’d need to file a police report.
4. Protect Personal Information And Accounts
Your personal information would be at risk if you submitted it to the fraudsters. As such, you should take the legal steps necessary to block all access to your accounts.
Perhaps you used your credit card in the transaction, you should contact the card issuers to file a fraud report. That might require you to get a new account number.
Another action you can take is to reach out to a national credit reporting company to demand that a fraud alert be placed on your credit file. The fraud alert would caution creditors to verify your identity before extending any credit in your name. It is free and lasts up to 12 months or when you demand it be removed.
Requesting for a security freeze is something you could also do. It restricts who has access to your credit file, as such, it would be difficult for identity thieves to open an account using your name. Unlike the fraud alert, it wouldn’t be removed until you request it be lifted.
You need to be always vigilant when it comes to your money, investment, or identity. Fraudsters usually have a way of making you think they’re legitimate. If you have been defrauded, take action quickly. Contact a lawyer and report to the authorities on time.