Getting scammed on the internet is very upsetting. It may ruin your day or even irreversibly change your life, depending on the severity of the damage caused.
A description of such a case can be found on the Octapay fraud website. Your reaction in such cases has to be very prompt if you want to suffer as little as possible.
Residents who have encountered fraud at least once are more vigilant when taking action than those who have not. They are more likely to take the time to check their bank accounts and report suspicious activity, they are more careful when posting personal information on social networks, and transfers are made on sites that are safe for payments. Unfortunately, most of society has significant gaps in Internet security issues, so there is a risk of becoming potential victims of fraud.
We have prepared a to-do list including all the essential things to do in case your personal information/payment details were stolen:
Get in touch with your Bank
Nowadays, internet scammers are usually hunting for users’ credit card details and personal information like social security numbers, health insurance, passport details, etc.
The moment you realize that you were scammed in any form — immediately reach out to the company that you trust your money with (bank, payment platforms) and inform them about the accident. You will have to re-issue all the cards that were supposedly compromised. During the conversation with the bank representative, make sure that you recognize the recent transactions on your account. If there is any transaction that you were not aware of — don’t hesitate to mark it as fraudulent.
It is also highly recommended to go through all your passwords and to change them to the more secure ones. Please avoid saving passwords in your browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla, etc.) as they are very likely to be found by someone, who can break into your computer. It is much more advisable to store passwords in a secure password managing service like Bitwarden and Dashlane.
Inform your credit bureau about the situation
In case your SSN is compromised, it is mandatory to block scammers from using it against you. The right way would be to contact all three national credit bureaus and freeze your possibility to apply for any credits/loans. Each bureau has its hotline, where you can call and receive the necessary assistance in a matter of minutes.
This will restrict scammers from applying for credits in your name because in case they try to apply for a loan somewhere, creditors wouldn’t be able to check your credit thus, the application would be automatically declined. It is a double-edged sword, as you won’t be able to apply for any loans in the near future as well. This won’t have any negative impact on your life if you haven’t planned on applying for a loan any time soon.
Mark your credit as ‘fraudulent’
You can prevent scammers from using your valuable personal details by flagging your account as ‘stolen’ for 90 days in one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. This action is called fraud alert and there are two main types of fraud alerts — the initial one (issued for 90 days, can be re-issued an indefinite number of times) and the extended one (freezes your credit for the duration of up to 7 years but requires lots of paperwork).
Acknowledge the FTC about your situation
Notifying the FTC about being scammed is very helpful, not only you protect yourself from the potential financial damage, but you also help the Trade Commission to build up cases and follow the current trend, which will then help to identify and battle scammers more quickly and efficiently. The interaction with the Federal Trade Commission is quite easy, you just have to provide full information about the situation that you got into: how did the accident happen, who did it involve, how much damage you suffered, etc. After contacting the FTC you will receive a legal statement, that proves you as a victim of a scam. This document is used if you want to escalate this situation to the police or if you want to freeze your credit for an extended period.
Report your situation to the police
The next thing to do from our list would be to reach out to your local police station and follow the necessary process. Be ready to provide the police force with all the facts about your situation in detail. By reporting your incident to the police, you guarantee not having any issues with the law because of being scammed.
Police departments have a different process of handling such situations across different states and countries, yet their role stays the same, to protect people in trouble.