Dealing with the Aftermath
Embarrassment. Guilt. Anger. Fear. Helplessness. These are all common and normal emotions a victim of fraud may experience. However, “it’s important to realize scammers are good at their jobs! They are cunning and believable, with deceptions designed to psychologically manipulate even the smartest among us. They use fear, desperation, and our own emotions against us to get what they want most, YOUR MONEY!” advises Becca Knowles, Vice President, Senior Operations & Security Officer with YVB.
After Experiencing Fraud–There’s Still a Chance:
If a money transfer has been made, call your financial institution or credit card provider immediately! There is no guarantee money can be recovered, but time is of the essence. Contact credit card companies to obtain new cards and ask to dispute fraudulent charges. Reach out to other involved companies: Western Union if you sent a money transfer, USPS if you sent cash, gift card companies, etc. Regardless of the nature of the scam, get in touch with the local police department because they have local and federal resources to try to track down criminals.
If your personal information has been compromised, be sure to contact the four credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and Innovis). Request they put an alert on your credit report and also freeze your credit. This will prevent scammers from using your identity to apply for fraudulent accounts.
Finally, if you clicked on a suspicious link or gave a scammer access to your computer, disconnect from the internet right away, turn off your computer, and bring it to a specialist to inspect and remove malware. While you wait, call all businesses that you have online accounts with and inform them of the potential breach. After your computer’s been cleaned, change all of your passwords to new, stronger ones.
How to Recover:
In the aftermath of fraud, it’s important to take steps to move forward in whatever manner possible. Moving forward can look like: filing a police report, joining a support group, reaching out to a confidante, or contacting your trusted banker to go over your options. Becoming more educated on fraud may be difficult, but also powerful as it thwarts its recurrence. When negative self-talk or guilty feelings resurface, remind yourself that fraud can happen to anyone. Endeavor to forgive yourself, and remember to be with people and do things that make life enjoyable.
How to Support Victims:
People desperately need support and encouragement to report the fraud they’ve experienced, but many don’t receive it because they’re too ashamed. If you are related to or friends with a victim of a scam, try to listen without judgment. Scams have become much more sophisticated and can happen to anyone. Victims often suffer immensely from guilt and self-blame, so being able to talk openly can help them process what happened and move on. Continue to remind them that fraudsters are excellent at what they do. Encourage them to take action, but also practice self-compassion.
If our communities can be more aware, open and vocal about fraud, fewer people will suffer in silence–the place where fraud thrives. Join YVB each Friday in June as we bring awareness to this crime, which has recently skyrocketed in our communities. Last Friday we outlined some basic rules for avoiding fraud. To find all the articles, and for more information, please visit our Education Center.
LEARN MORE IN OUR EDUCATION CENTER