How to mitigate harm caused by a scammer

Mitigate harm

When a friend or loved one has become the victim of an unscrupulous scammer, the victimization may only be in its infancy. Once scammers have identified an individual as easy prey, they will often continue their relentless pursuit of every dime they can squeeze of out of a target and may also sell the victim’s information to other scammers. Take the following steps to help eliminate their stream of ill-gotten gains:

  • Report the crime. That includes contacting the local police and the Federal Trade Commission. If the mail was used to contact the victim, or if the victim sent money to the scammer by mail, contact the United States Postal Inspection Service.
  • Notify each legitimate business involved. This includes wire-transfer services, banks, shipping companies, and phone companies. Alert credit card companies, investment firms, and other financial institutions. These institutions often share intelligence with law enforcement.
  • Close accounts that were involved in the fraud and explore security options with banks and brokerages to protect financial assets when opening new accounts.
  • The FTC suggests placing a fraud alert on your loved one’s credit report and reviewing his or her credit report.
  • Change the telephone number. The phone company may offer other solutions to help reduce the risk of telemarketing fraud.
  • Manage online identities by using passwords that are not easily identifiable, such as those containing letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration to see what steps your loved one can take to protect his or her Social Security payments.
  • Finally, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney.
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