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Getting Your Life Back After Being Scammed

Posted on May 7, 2020

It could happen to anyone. You meet a convincing conman and have a little too much trust in something that sounds too good to be true. You find yourself the victim of a scam before you realize what happened. Even the most careful of people can be taken advantage of. If your identity has been stolen, your accounts have been compromised, or somebody fooled you into giving them money, we’ve got steps to help you get back on track.

Gather as Much Information as Possible

woman at a table with a laptop writing in a notebookThe moment you think something is amiss, start digging into it. Get as much information as you can like specific dates things happened, how much was damaged, and what aspects of your finances and life were affected, etc. Having this evidence and information will be essential for assisting with police or other institutions’ investigations.

Especially if your identity was stolen or your financial accounts were breached, you need to do research right away. Contact the credit bureaus for the most recent copy of your credit report. This will show in detail any action on your credit that can indicate a stolen identity or credit card.

Stop Further Damage

woman typing on a laptopDo you feel like you have a good amount of information and know the extent of the damage? It’s time to stop the scammers from doing anything further. Depending on the situation, there are different approaches to protect yourself.

If your identity was stolen, a great first step is to freeze your credit with the three credit bureaus. This will prevent thieves from applying for more credit cards or loans and give you time to get back on your feet. Once you have control of your identity, you can set up extra protections on your credit to prevent further damage.

If your credit card is stolen, contact the card provider right away and freeze your account to prevent it from being used further. You will likely receive a new account and credit card number. It might also be worth pausing your credit with the credit bureaus in case the perpetrator also stole your identity.

If other financial accounts have been compromised, work with your financial institutions to lock them down and make them secure. They can help you change login information, update account information, and take security measures to make sure your finances are safe. You’ll definitely want to change your online banking username and password to prevent further disruptions.

Repairing the Mess

mature man on a phoneScammers leave a mess wherever they go, and you’ll be left cleaning it up. Whether they stole your identity or your money, you can recover with some help.

With a stolen identity, request a copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus. That way you can see all false inquiries and activity caused by the identity thief. From there, you can dispute each incorrect item on your report and slowly get your credit score back to normal. You’ll also need to contact vendors with which the thief opened a line of credit (like credit cards and loans) and work with their fraud department to get the account closed and the balance removed.

If a credit card was stolen or an account was breached, you’ll need work with your financial institution. They can help get money back or remove wrongful charges to your account.

Finally, if the scam involved writing a check or sending money but it hasn’t cleared yet, you can cancel and protect yourself. You should also inform your bank or credit union of what is happening so they can take extra steps to protect your money.

Contact the Authorities

police officer standing in a streetIt’s important from the moment you realize you are being scammed or attacked that you contact the proper authorities. By working with them, you can help protect yourself and others and hopefully catch the scammers.

If your identity is stolen, visit IdentityTheft.Gov to get started protecting yourself and reporting it to the authorities. The information provided is given to government agencies that are focused on investigating and stopping identity theft. You can also report identity theft to your local police department, especially if you think the thief lives nearby.

If it’s purely a financial breach, you should contact your police department to file a report. If other authorities need to be involved, the police will handle it at their discretion.

You can report scam acts like calls, emails, and similar attempts to the FTC whether you fall victim to them or not. This can help track and combat attempts happening right now.

Get Extra Protection for the Future

Sadly, scammers and criminals share information. It’s common for an identity thief to sell your information to others when you freeze your credit or their scam is no longer successful. This puts you at higher risk for more identity theft attempts and similar situations.

Pioneer members can enroll in our ID Theft Protection program. If you discover any suspicious activity, we will connect you with a Personal Recovery Advocate. They can assist you with every aspect of reclaiming and protecting your identity and provide 12 months of follow-up after recovery is complete. Members can also purchase additional tools to help detect identity theft early. This can help keep you safe by letting you respond to potential identity theft as soon as possible.

Learn More About ID Theft Protection!

Member Benefits
ID Theft Protection VISA Credit Card
myPioneer Personal Assistant app Reward Checking Accounts


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