JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From phishing emails to romance scams to fake calls from the IRS, scammers are very convincing at getting you to hand over your sensitive information. Whether you paid a scammer with cash, credit card, or gift cards the Federal Trade Commission says there are steps to take to try and get that money back.
Sent scammers money
Paid with debit or credit card
The FTC says to contact your bank and tell them it was an unauthorized withdrawal and ask them to reverse the transaction.
Paid using a gift card
Contact the company that issued the gift card, tell them it was used in a scam and ask for a refund, keep the card itself and gift card receipt.
Paid with cash app like Zelle or Venmo
Report the transaction to the company and ask for your money back. If your credit or debit card is linked to the account, report the fraud to your credit card company or bank and ask if they can get your money back.
Paid with cash through mail
The FTC says contact whoever you sent the package through whether that be USPS, FedEx, or UPS. Ask them to intercept the package before it can arrive at its destination.
While the FTC says they can’t promise you’ll get your money back, it’s worth always reaching out and asking.
Scammer has your personal info
What about if your personal information is compromised? Whether it’s because of a phishing email or data breach you’re going to want to make sure your credit score is not affected.
Free credit reports are available every week until April through the three top credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Then you’ll want to go to IdentityTheft.gov and report the scam to the FTC.
If you give your scammer your username or password, create a new, strong password. That means at least 12 characters of letters, numbers and symbols. If you use the same password anywhere else, change it there too. It’s always best to use different passwords for different accounts. I know keeping up with all of those is tough, so try using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password which will keep all of your passwords on file and organized.
Scammer gains access to your hardware
If a scammer gains access to your computer or phone, the FTC recommends first updating the security software.
For a computer you’ll want to update your computer security software, run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem. If the scammer took control of your cell phone contact your service provider to take back control of your phone number, then change your account password.
Also, check to make sure the scammers didn’t get access to your bank information or credit card numbers. Check your statements and make sure everything looks OK.
If you fall victim to any scam, make sure you are reporting it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov