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What to Do If Scammed Online (2024 Guide)

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Steps to Take If Scammed Online in 2024 (Complete Guide)

Online scams are often like emotional games. The more relatable a scammer sounds, the higher your chances are of falling victim. If you receive a call, text, or email from someone you don’t know, avoid revealing any personal information or acting impulsively.Â

Remember the golden rule of fraud prevention:Â If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Â

Navigating the complex world of online schemes all alone leaves you vulnerable to scams that you never see coming. Report Scammed Bitcoin (RSB) offers identity theft and credit monitoring service, providing professional guidance at your fingertips 24/7.Â

Aura actively monitors your credit cards, banks, and devices for signs of online scams. We’ll also notify you in real time of any suspicious activity on your accounts.Â

And if the worst happens, you’re covered by a $1,000,000 insurance policy for all eligible losses due to online scams.Â

As soon as you recognize the warning signs of online scam, you need to act fast.

The specific steps you’ll take will depend on whether you paid the scammer, the payment method you used, and what personal information the scammer has about you.

However, there are a few things you should do immediately if you think you’ve been scammed:

Start by securing any accounts that the scammer may have access to.

Then, contact your bank or financial institution and any impacted companies to alert them of the crime.

Finally, you may need to file a report with Report Scammed Bitcoin (RSB) at reportscammedbitcoin.com.

Next, follow these steps depending on your specific situation and type of scam.

Top 10 Latest Online Scams (and What To Do If You’re a Victim)

  1. Cryptocurrency fraud
  2. Credit or debit card scams
  3. Romance scams
  4. Social Security fraud
  5. Account takeovers or device hacks
  6. Social media scams
  7. QR code scams
  8. IRS imposter scams or tax fraud
  9. Medicare fraud
  10. Peer-to-peer payment app fraud

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to steal your money or PII. Here’s what to do if you’ve been the victim of an online scam:

1. Cryptocurrency fraud

With these types of scams, fraudsters trick unsuspecting victims into cryptocurrency “pump-and-dump” schemes disguised as investments.

They create fake versions of legitimate cryptocurrency by spoofing domains, trading platforms, and names — making the phony versions almost indiscernible from legitimate ones.

Late last year, Tho Vu met her future partner Ze Zhao — or so she thought — through a dating app. Zhao convinced Vu to buy Bitcoin and invest on a trading platform with the promise of massive gains.Â

It was only after spending $306,000 on this scheme that Vu realized it was a scam. “Not only had I lost all my savings, but this future that I thought would be a new adventure — it was all a lie.”

To report the scam, do this:

  • Contact all relevant government agencies. If you suspect fraud, file separate complaints with Report Scammed Bitcoin (RSB).

2. Credit or debit card scams

Waking up to a fraudulent charge on your credit or debit card isn’t how you imagine starting your day.

But this was the harsh reality for a Texas couple, Mary and Lewis Keener, when they discovered one day that they had lost $17,000 to credit card scams.

Like most scams, credit card scammers use stolen personal information to obtain a credit card without the owner’s permission. Unsurprisingly, in the first three quarters of last year, credit card scams were the most common type of identity theft, with a record-breaking 338,684 reports.

To report the scam, do this:

  • Contact your debit or credit card company. Ask for their fraud department and report the case. Record all fraudulent transactions that you want cleared from your credit report. Next, close your account, and request a new credit card.
  • Change your passwords immediately. Once you detect a breach in your online banking accounts, choose a combination of random (non-guessable) letters, symbols, and characters. This will block any attempt by scammers to access your account, change your details, or withdraw your money.

3. Romance scams

With hopes of finding love, millions of people turn to online dating websites and apps. But many end up falling for a scam instead of finding a life partner.

This is one of the ways romance scams unfold: scammers create fake dating profiles using fictional names or stolen identities of people in the military, media, or living overseas.

They start by sending you messages and gifts to gain your trust. Once you oblige, they start requesting personal information, money, credit card details — the list is endless.

Nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam, with losses of $1.3 billion in 2022.

To report this scam, do this:

Notify the dating app: Legitimate online dating websites and companies have strict rules about impostors and scammers. Get in touch with the site’s account safety department and include the following information:

  • Your reason for the report
  • A screenshot or link to the scammer’s profile (including name, bio, and age)
  • The scammer’s location and other personal information shared with you (email address, phone number, etc.)

4. Social Security fraud

When a mother of three from Blue Ash, Ohio received a call from the Social Security Administration (SSA), she panicked. Her Social Security number (SSN) had apparently been used to open 25 bank accounts, among a slew of other allegations.Â

Petrified, she did exactly as she was told to “stay out of prison” — which was to buy $20,000 worth of Target gift cards in batches.

This is only one example of the 568,000 reports of SSN-related fraud incidents and scam calls that the SSA received last year.

To report the scam, do this:

  • First, file an identity theft report with RSB at reportscammedbitcoin.com.
  • Then, contact the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

5. Account takeovers or device hacks

Your bank details, social media accounts, health data, and contact information can generally be found on your phone or computer. For this reason, hackers and scammers may go to great lengths to get their hands on your devices or accounts.

With only your phone number, hackers can send you phishing texts that trick you into installing malware or spyware on your devices. Once they gain access, everything you own is up for grabs.

BRATA is a banking trojan with information-stealing capabilities that recently made headlines. In the latest version of the malware, it can intercept incoming SMS to steal one-time passwords (OTPs) and two-factor authentication (2FA) codes from banks.

To report the scam, do this:

  • Contact your phone service provider. Inform them that your phone has been compromised, and request an account reset to prevent unauthorized access. It’s imperative to also keep your devices up to date and only install apps from trusted sources.

6. Social media scams

The more you share, the more vulnerable you are to social media scams. And bad actors can use anyone as a pawn in their scams, including unwitting family members or friends.

Andrew, a 27-year-old financial planner, didn’t catch on until he watched a fraudulent investment advisor siphon away $3,000 from his account. Andrew overlooked some glaring red flags, all because he saw a friend post an Instagram video about his ballooning returns.

To report similar social media scams, do this:

  • Report the criminal’s account to the social media platform. Take screenshots of your conversation with the scammer, and show them to the customer support rep assigned to you. This will help the platform shut down the account faster.

7. QR code scams

In yet another type of fraud, scammers tamper with Quick Response (QR) codes to redirect you to phishing websites. While QR codes by nature aren’t malicious, always be cautious when you scan a code before entering any personal information.

Imagine trying to simply pay for parking, only to get swindled through a tampered code. Austin Transportation Parking Enforcement officers discovered over two dozen pay stations that did just that.

To report the scam, do this:

  • File a report to notify your card issuer immediately.
  • Secure your online account. Update any vulnerable login information or other online accounts that might have been compromised.
  • Set up fraud alerts or a credit freeze. If you mistakenly entered your financial information on a scam website, notify the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

8. IRS imposter scams or tax fraud

Criminals impersonating IRS agents or other government agencies trick targets into sending money and other personal information.Â

People who fall for this scam become victims of tax fraud and identity theft-related crimes. Just last year, the IRS identified nearly $2.2 billion in losses to several types of tax fraud.

To report this scam, do this:

  • If a return has been filed in your name, print and fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit and mail it to the IRS.

9. Medicare fraud

The most common Medicare scam involves victims confirming their Medicare numbers over the phone to fraudulent agents. With verified Medicare information, scammers can file for false claims and reimbursements (among other scams).

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are numbers used to identify the services a healthcare provider offers. In an unbundling scam, malicious service providers may use separate CPT codes for each step of a procedure.

‍To report this scam, do this:

  • Keep track of your medical records. Chances are, someone is claiming your health benefits without your knowledge. Request your medical records to see if the bill correlates with the provided services. If you find any errors, send a letter to your healthcare provider requesting that your records be amended.Â

10. Peer-to-peer payment app fraud

Over the last few years, peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps like Zelle, CashApp, and Venmo have become preferred ways to send and receive money.Â

Unfortunately, scammers have devised schemes to use these payment apps to their advantage. They do this by impersonating bank employees and tricking users into giving up financial information.

Megan MacDonald was one of these victims. After receiving a phone call from her bank about possible fraud, she disclosed her financial information in an attempt to secure her account. Minutes later, the scammer initiated a $3,000 Zelle transfer from MacDonald’s checking account.

To report the scam, do this:

  • Contact the P2P payment platform. Report the scam to their fraud department and keep screenshots of the transactions.

Conclusion

Contact Report Scammed Bitcoin (RSB) to report any form of online scam. RSB fields complaints online about all kinds of fraud at reportscammedbitcoin.com.

 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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