A small preclude from me before this post:
I don’t mean to be melodramatic in this post, but being scammed online is becoming more and more of a problem every day. There is very little the United States government, let alone any government can do for scam victims (consumers) when they get ripped off online. I wrote an article way back in 2007 of an experience I had being scammed when buying a domain name online. Granted, I am what many people think as a “savvy” internet enthusiast; but even I was able to get duped out of almost $300. Just like that it was gone. What makes my article useful to others was that I shared with everyone how I contacted and worked with PayPal, the Banks and even with the Scammer. And I ended up getting my money back.
The moral of that article was that there are always going to be bad people (scammers), and so many people are going to fall victim to internet scams every day; but you as a consumer have rights that you can exercise to defend yourself. The way we fight back as consumers is simple. We use the same tool the scammer used to scam us… the Internet. Read the comments in the article and you’ll be able to learn how you can defend yourself from future attacks amoral swindlers on the Web.
So I decided to write a small short post of mine to further help people in need to of the basics behind protecting yourself from scams online. Or if you need to refresh yourself of the basics.
Peace out and be safe,
Throughout each day, millions of people are scammed online; however, you probably never thought that you would be one of these people. Now that you have been scammed, it is important for you to take steps to reduce the damage that may occur. Once you are a victim of a scam, the steps below will make this unfortunate event easier to handle.
1. Stay calm
The first thing to do if you are a victim of a scam is to stay calm. Most likely, you are in panic mode and are wondering what to do about this situation. If you are not calm, there is no way you can think about the other important steps you must take. If you continue to panic, you increase your risk for more losses.
2. Stop all payments
If any of the online payments were made by check or credit card, you should call your bank and credit card companies to report this information. Also, you should be sure to ask these companies to stop all pending payments that will be deducted from your bank account or credit card.
3. Make a list
Next, it is important to make a list of everything you have lost and the value of the items. This list should include all email or phone conversations you may have had with the scam artist. By keeping a list, it will be easier for you to relay this information to the proper authorities.
4. Contact the authorities
- First, you should contact your local police department. The officers can create a report that can be given to your bank and credit card companies.
- After you have contacted the police, you should also contact the Better Business Bureau. By contacting the Better Business Bureau, you can let the agency know about a business that is operating a scam.
- Finally, you should contact your Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. The Attorney General may be able to help you file a suit against the company, and the Federal Trade Commission can take steps to guard you against identity theft.
Being a victim of an online scam is very frightening; however, if you know what to do when this situation occurs, you can protect yourself from considerable losses. Although you may still experience a financial loss, reacting quickly can minimize that loss.