If you are reading this, the chances are, the inevitable has happened – You’ve been scammed! But fear not, courage is the ability to rise up after being knocked down. The thought of losing your hard-earned money to fraudsters is sickening, but so is the idea of doing nothing. Sit back, relax, and prepare to return from victim to victor, with ScamAdviser's 10 expert strategies to use when you've been scammed!

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine whether you are really dealing with a scammer or it's a simple misunderstanding. How, you ask? Well, ask for a refund if you suspect something is amiss. Genuine companies will happily offer a refund, while scammers… not so much.

So, you’ve established you’ve been scammed, but what now? Here are the strategies you can follow to change your story from a victim to a victor.

Request a Reversal with the Payment Provider

As soon as you realize you are dealing with a scammer, request a reversal from your financial institution or credit card company immediately. The chances of success vary greatly depending on the payment method used. 

Here is a breakdown of the procedure for various payment methods;

  • Credit Card or Debit Card

Reach out to the bank and inform them to reverse the transaction as this was a fraudulent charge.

  • Gift Cards

Contact the gift card issuing company to request a refund and inform them it was used as a scam. The degree of success here varies greatly and the faster you act, the higher your chances. 

  • Wire Transfer

Reach out to the bank and inform them to cancel the transaction as it was unauthorized.

  • Cryptocurrency 

There is a reason why scammers prefer cryptocurrency payments as they are virtually impossible to reverse. But this should not deter you from requesting a reversal from the exchange platform.

report the scam

Report the Scam

Even after requesting a refund, it's vital that you report the scammers to the law enforcement agency. Reporting scams plays a crucial role in the fight against scams and fraud as it strengthens law enforcement agencies' arsenal.

Currently, and regrettably, only 7% of people report scams leading to a mere 0.05% apprehension rate of cybercriminals. While this can be attributed to slow processes from law enforcement and delayed justice for victims, it's still crucial for victims to report scams.

You’ll need to gather all the necessary information relevant to your case. These include the name, website, IP address, phone number, email address(s), and every other thing you deem necessary for your case.

Stop All Communication

Sometimes this is easier said than done, but you need to cut off all communications with the scammer. Don’t engage them, don’t haul insults, don’t try to plead with them. Cut them off completely. Any continuation of communication will make matters worse and could result in further losses. Other reasons include;

  • To protect your emotional wellbeing
  • Avoid further manipulation
  • Preserve the existing evidence
  • Prevent more scams

Strengthen Security on All Your Accounts

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, or phishing scams, changing and strengthening your accounts is key. This includes all your online accounts such as email, social media, and banking, and not just the ones affected. 

Consider adding two-factor authentication or OTP messages in all your accounts. The more layers of security you can add the better as this will make it hard for scammers to defraud you.

If you suspect you are a victim of e-skimming, which is stealing your credit card credentials with the help of malicious code, log out from all sign-up platforms and double-check the URLs of all the websites. Scammers will clearly impersonate popular websites with a slight change in the URLs. 

Be Wary of Follow-Up Scams

This is where things can get nasty and lightning can strike twice. Normally you would assume that people will be sympathetic to scam victims but scammers are not sparing them.

Scam victims tend to be desperate to get their money back and this is where scammers take advantage. Watch out for people asking you to pay them to get your money back. 

You will find many messages on social media platforms or review websites claiming to help people recover their funds. Some users claim they were helped by certain organizations, then proceed to list contact details of these organizations, such as email or phone number. 

Recovering lost money is easier with the steps listed above. Any other way no matter how enticing or sentimental it sounds is likely a recovery scam.

phising scams with financial accounts

Keep an Eye on All Your Financial Accounts

Now that you’ve fallen into a scam, you are seen as an easy target by scammers. With this in mind, it's vital to keenly observe all your financial accounts for any abnormality. 

Frequently check your bank statements, credit reports, Paypal balance, and every other financial account. Any slight unauthorized change should be acted upon quickly.

Warn Others

Take time and warn others about the scam you’ve encountered. The more people know about the scam, the less successful scammers will be. Use both online and offline methods to shed light on the fraudulent scheme. Warn your friends and family about the scam, and leave reviews on popular review websites and socials.

Consider Hiring Credit Monitoring Services

It has become common for scammers to continuously target victims especially if they believe you are vulnerable. It’s prudent to engage credit monitoring services especially if you have lost funds through your credit cards. 

The monitoring services can alert you when there are suspicious activities or significant changes to your credit profile. 

Seek Support From Victim Support Groups

Falling victim to scams can have a huge detrimental effect on your mental health. Thus, getting support can go a long way in helping you cope. There is a lot of scam victim support in different countries such as the Fight Cybercrime in the USA or Victim Support in the UK. 

Connecting with people who have gone through similar experiences can offer emotional support and beneficial guidance.

Educate Yourself

As a victim of a scam, the best thing you can do is learn from the experience. Educate yourself about how scammers operate, who the target is, and the telltale signs you may have missed.

Some of the other ways include; being watchful when disclosing personal information, checking references before sending money or making donations, and keeping abreast of scams. These procedures can lessen your susceptibility to fraud in the future.

Freelance Writer

Adam Collins
Scam Expert

Adam is is a notable writer and cyber-safety advocate at ScamAdviser.com, a platform dedicated to protecting consumers from online scams. His in-depth research and insightful analysis of the digital fraud landscape equip readers with the tools they need to make informed decisions in the online space. Drawing from his extensive experience in investigative journalism and cyber security, Adam provides practical advice and valuable tips on how to recognize and avoid scams.

Legal disclaimers:

  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
  2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.