If you have been a victim of some type of online scam or fraud, there are a few steps you need to take immediately to prevent further damage but also to maximize the chances that you might get some of your money back.

Number one, obviously stop sending any money. Don’t send them anymore. Number two is to start collecting evidence and make screenshots. Copies of text messages, and log emails. Log websites. In fact, if you go on your email account, what you’ll find is there’s a button in your email provider could be Gmail Hotmail, or whatever you’re using to get the email header information and that won’t just have their email address, it’ll show their IP address their pathway their traceroute, many other pieces of information, and you want to save all that. Saving the file even if you don’t know what to do with it save it. So if it gets deleted or it gets revoked, you’ll have access to it. 

If you’ve made a payment through a platform, like Telegram WhatsApp Zelle Venmo, save the handles of that person. Go into that person’s activity and show what other activity is appearing because they may cancel that account at some point. You want to gather the evidence while you can. If you have had any kind of screen conversations with them, take screenshots and log in to get records of that. If you’ve done a video conference, get a photo of the person. If you have a website. They were linked to go to that website and take a screenshot. There’ll be other source code behind the website that might be applicable, but you won’t be able to get that right away. Just get a screenshot of the front page of the website. If the activity occurred online you want to report it to IC3 which is a division of the FBI. Remember like we’ve talked to before, they will not take action on most. frauds but they will log it into their system. Do not stop communicating with the other party. Don’t send them any more money. Don’t give them anymore personal information. Don’t give them copies of your driver’s license or copies of credit cards, but just answer their inquiry saying I’m too busy I’ll get back to you. Right. You don’t want to call them out on their fraud, probably because that will eliminate the possibility of using the communication to gather more evidence. But you also don’t want to get yourself in any deeper or put yourself in a position of potential harm. Make sure your personal safety is secured If you feel at all concerned about the risk to you physically just call your local police department and let them know, they’ll know what to do. 

You want to make sure you’re gathering evidence without creating any more harm or damage also think to see if they have any of your personal information. Did they have your social security number? Do they have your credit card number? Do they have your driver’s license? If so you may want to cancel those and get new ones issued so you don’t fall into further harm or losses. Once that’s done at least you can take a breather and figure out what you want to do next about maybe recovering the assets but that’s a whole nother story. You want to protect yourself first, so you don’t lose anything else beyond what’s already been squandered.

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