A key focus of my blog is Health/Wellness. Something that can disrupt all of forms of our personal health is fraud. It’s important to know how to proceed, should you become a victim of fraud. The following contributed post is entitled, What To Do If You’ve Been A Victim Of Fraud.
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Scams and fraud are very upsetting to fall victim too and can cause can you real problems with your finances and credit. A lot of money is being spent on preventing fraud, but what happens if you’ve already been a victim? Is there a way that you can get restitution? If you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam, here’s what to do.
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Report The Scam
A lot of victims of fraud never report it, perhaps because they feel embarrassed, feel it’s pointless, or just don’t know where to report it. However, reporting is important as it establishes accurate statistics on the number of people who have been affected and to help law enforcement identify patterns. Start by reporting it to the police (this is essential if you want to make an insurance claim on stolen property). Report any compromised credit or debit cards to the card issuer. You can also call the AARP Fraud Watch Network hotline for advice on what to do next, whether you’ve fallen for a scam or are a victim of negligent misrepresentation.
This should be done even if you’ve been acted on globally. For most scams that involve goods and services (for example nonexistent vacation properties), start by contacting your state attorney general’s office, your local and state consumer protection agencies, or the Better Business Bureau. You could also reach out to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Match The Agency To The Crime
If the fraud you’ve been a victim of violates federal law, there is likely to be a government agency that handles it. You can find a list at usa.gov, and the relevant crime to report there, from income tax debt collection fraud to income tax refund fraud. A good place to start is the Federal Trade Commission.
Focus On Emotional Healing
Federal agencies very rarely track down the perpetrators of crimes against individual people. Instead, they use complaints to record patterns of abuse, which allows them to take action against a company or industry. Fraud often has a global nature, so victims should be realistic about their chances of legal redress. It’s unlikely reporting it will bring you much satisfaction so it’s important to focus on emotional recovery. Try not to feel angry with yourself for falling for a scam, and instead ask friends and family for support in helping you move past it.
Anyone can be a victim of fraud or a scam, and you don’t have to be gullible to be taken in. If you have been a victim, try to react quickly in order to protect your finances as fast as possible. Report the crime to help law enforcement protect others from being a victim to the same scam that you fell for, and make sure you take any needed steps to block and replace credit and debit cards. In the future, learn to spot the signs of a scam, so you’re less likely to be a victim in the future.