NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Who to Call?

Who to Call?

 

Scammers are doing their best to hit us from just about every possible avenue these days, from email phishing, to cell phone SMiShing, and everything in between.

Modern-day internet-based scammers use fear, false urgency, curiosity, and other tactics to help them in their quest to steal money and information.

It can be hard to bring scammers to justice because of the difficulties associated with tracking them down. Scammers often cover their tracks by using fake or stolen identities, coupled with anonymizing Internet services, spoofed e-mail addresses, and disposable phone numbers. Victims of scams don't always report when they've been conned because they feel embarrassed for having fallen for a scam.

If you have just fallen for a scam, you shouldn't feel embarrassed. It can happen to anyone. Scammers are constantly refining their scams to make them as effective as possible. They know what works and what doesn't.

Following are some tips to help you try and recover after you've become the victim of an online scam:

If you've given out your credit card number or bank information to a suspected scammer then you need to tell your financial institution as soon as possible so they can place a hold on your account to prevent further charges against it. Always call them on the number on the back of your card or on your most recent statement. Never call a number in an email as it might be part of a phishing scam.

You'll need to file a police report as soon as possible after you've been scammed, especially if money was actually stolen from your account. Your bank and/or credit card company will likely want a copy of the police report as will the major credit agencies.

Filing a fraud alert with the three major credit bureaus adds a note to your credit file that states to anyone trying to pull your credit that you have been a victim of fraud. The note requests that the business pulling the credit report call you on one of two phone numbers you provided when you filed the fraud alert.

If you've been the victim of identity theft or you believe that scammers have gotten all the information they need to obtain a credit card or a loans in your name, you may want to contact the 3 major credit bureaus and ask them to place a "security freeze" on your credit reports.

Adding a security freeze to your credit reporting helps to halt ID thieves from opening accounts using your stolen identity. When a security freeze is in effect, if someone tries to get a loan or open an account using your name, the credit reporting agency will ask the requester for your PIN or password before they give over your credit score to the lender. Since the identity thief won't know your PIN, assuming the lender is following proper procedures, the lender won't give them an account without knowing if they have good credit.

If you opt for a security freeze then you will need to contact all 3 of the major credit bureaus and put in a freeze request with each of them.

When you opened that scam-related e-mail, the internet criminals who sent it may have embedded links to malware within the message which may have infected your computer. This malware could be capturing your account information and might be relaying it back to the scammers. Make sure your anti-malware software is up-to date and do a full scan of your computer.

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