These days, scams seem to be everywhere. They’ve appeared in Facebook Messenger and Airbnb, and even take the shape of phony tech support. They are also becoming more convincing—looking more and more like legitimate pieces of communication.
With all of these scares, you’ve figured out what to look out for, what links to avoid, and where to search for reviews on sites to check for security. But what if your senses fail you and you fall for a scam?
You can pick up the pieces if you fall into a trap. Here’s who to contact and what steps to take when starting to recover from a scam.
- Family and friends. Letting them know that you have been scammed will ensure they are on high alert and extra protective of their own data. Not only does their proximity to you increase their chances of being targeted, but everyone has the potential to be victim to scams.
- Law enforcement. Scams are a form of fraud. Notifying law enforcement quickly means they can begin investigating the issue and help save others from falling for the same scam. Consumer Reports recommends reaching out to your state attorney general’s office, and every state also has a consumer protection office as well.
- Your bank. You may have provided the scammer with information for your banking account(s) so notifying your bank of this activity is important for their security. This also may lead to obtaining a new account number, card, or other activity the institution deems appropriate.
- Federal Trade Commission. Reporting your situation to the FTC is exactly what they are there for. It’s easy to report an instance of fraud or any scam on the website. The more data the FTC can collect, the more productive their service is in protecting consumers.
- Review financial accounts. This step could be tedious, but looking through bank and credit card statements is important.
It is also helpful to reset your account passwords that were associated with the scam, as well as any other accounts that may share the same passwords. Going forward, the best thing you can do for yourself is consume critically and report potential threats.
Guest blogger: Morgan Grunow
Morgan is a Communications Intern at TDS Telecom and a junior at UW-Madison studying journalism.