The investment and business world can seem a treacherous place sometimes, with the risk of people who would take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Whether through malicious software, false pretenses, or other schemes, fraudsters make use of many psychological tactics to get money and assets out of innocent people. Below, we have suggested a few steps to take if you fall prey to fraud or scams. Armed with this information, it will be easier to limit the damage done if you are taken advantage of.
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Stopping the Damage
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has a list of six steps to take after you discover the scam to which you have fallen prey. We have summarized them here for quick reference.
Step One: Cease Payments
Many of these kinds of schemes come with designed payment schedules or the continued promise of your assets being returned to you as long as you pay “ransoms.” For example, one woman lost roughly $200,000 USD because the fraudster kept telling her to buy and transfer gift cards to them. While chasing her original loss, mostly due to the panic she felt at being conned, she continued to hemorrhage money until she had little left.
Regardless of what the attacker says, you should never agree to additional payments to have your assets returned to you. They are con artists, after all, and are not to be trusted.
Step Two: Get Paperwork In Order
Contacting the authorities is coming up soon in our step list, but it’s usually necessary to collect all the relevant information related to your situation beforehand so that you have it ready and can turn it all over to the people who can potentially rectify the issue. Examples of information you might want to gather include:
- screenshots of any emails or text messages the other person used
- accounts used by the perpetrator (such as social media accounts, email handles, bank accounts, etc.)
- phone numbers the other person provided for communication
- receipts, bank statements, or other evidence of financial transactions
The more information you hand over to the authorities, the better chance they have of catching the thief more quickly.
Step Three: Alert Authorities
You will need to contact both law enforcement and the providers of the accounts that have been defrauded. For example, you might consider calling the police to report the fraud, calling a hotline designed for that purpose, and contacting your bank account manager or credit card company. While the former will focus on spearheading a campaign into finding the perpetrator, the latter can discuss possible reimbursement or freezes on your accounts to ensure that no further damage is done.
Final Step: Check Your Policies
You might need to seek help from a financial advisor or even an attorney for this step, as legal jargon can be difficult for laypersons to parse. However, it is important to look into the language in any relevant insurance policies that might cover you for these kinds of losses. In some cases, you could be protected and eligible for reimbursement, depending on the type of scam that has been perpetrated on you.
Financial management is not without risk. That is an inherent part of investing, developing your wealth, and making choices about your money’s future. However, cons and deceitful schemes are another type of menace altogether. It might be tempting to keep silent about the situation out of misplaced shame or feelings of guilt, but the truth is that anyone can fall prey to these attackers. Take the above steps if it happens to you so that you can be in the best situation possible immediately after being taken advantage of.
For additional financial and market advice, contact the experts at Stratford Management in Japan. The majority of our clients have been with us for more than five years, showing the level of commitment and client satisfaction to which we strive.