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While technology helps us in our daily lives, it has also become quite challenging not to fall victim to online fraud. We have frequently heard and read on social media platforms and in other private and government news broadcasts regarding the ever-increasing menace of several types of investment fraud that are rampant in our society.
Online investment scams are getting more and more elaborate, making it difficult to distinguish between a genuine and a fake webpage. Scammers are getting more and more resourceful in making fake websites look legit. With the latest software and applications available at a cheaper rate, scammers use these resources to rip off their intended victims.
On the downside, victims not only have to bear the financial loss but also have to endure an emotional rollercoaster. Frequently feeling bad about losing their hard-earned money, along with anger and frustration, can have a serious mental and physical impact.
We may know someone from our family, friends, or neighborhood who has fallen victim to an investment scam, and the number of such victims is growing every year. As per the Federal Trade Commission report, the amount of money lost to investment scams in 2022 was $3.8 billion, which is almost twice as much as in 2021. These are the official numbers; many choose to remain silent for fear of being ridiculed or shamed.
In this article, we will guide you regarding the steps to be taken if you know someone or have personally fallen victim to an investment scam.
Steps to Report the investment scam
Many of us are not educated when it comes to handling our finances. Most of us make poor decisions and end up mismanaging our wealth, even if we have a lot of it at our disposal.
As the current global economic outlook does not look optimistic, many are struggling to bring bread to the table. These investment schemes are so devious that they promise returns on investment many times over. Thus, due to a lack of financial awareness, it’s hardly surprising that many of us fall victim to such investment scams.
Avoid continuing to invest:
It is easier said than done since, although most will have their guts telling them to stop investing in the scheme, which is bogus, most of these victims are desperate to change their existing lifestyles and are hoping that this investment scheme will change their lives.
It should raise a red flag if the person on the other end contacts you and starts to use coercive language or tactics to persuade you to send money into their account.
Get in touch with someone you trust and ask for their financial advice. If you still feel the need to verify if the scheme is genuine or a scam, get in touch with your CPA or certified public accountant.
Instead of simply blocking the scammers once you know that you have been ripped off in an investment scam, you should collect all the data that might help build up a case.
Recollect all events that have occurred since the time you discovered that you were scammed. Details about the scheme that was being said and promised by the alleged “financial advisor,” along with the contact number, address, the firm’s name, and how you were contacted. Do not forget to add their website or any other social media presence.
If you have any terms and conditions papers with you, they can be used as evidence. Any written documentation from the scammers can also be useful. Once you have gathered all the evidence, try to write your thoughts in chronology.
Contact your banks:
Contact all the banks that you have accounts with and report fraud; any unauthorized transaction will be temporarily terminated.
Credit Card: Credit cards are one of the most reliable and secure payment types, as they give you more time to reverse any transaction compared to other payment types.
Debit Card: Although not all banks offer chargebacks, you can ask your bank if they have such options available to them. However, the faster you react to contacting a bank regarding an investment scam, the better your chances of recovering your money.
Bank Transfer: Banks can act quickly and reverse the transactions if you contact your bank and alert them of an investment scam. Overseas bank transfers usually take a lot of time compared to domestic bank transfers, so you should act quickly.
Contact the credit rating bureau:
Complaint to credit rating bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and report that you have been a victim of an investment scam. They will provide you with a report that has all your financial details. The report will provide a detailed financial history of all the banks that you operate. Check for any inconsistencies in the report, like opening up a new bank account or any other unauthorized transaction.
These credit bureaus will put a freeze on all your bank accounts as soon as they receive a fraud alert from you.
Contact local law enforcement agencies:
Once you have done all the paperwork, get in touch with the local law enforcement agencies and lodge an investment scam complaint with them. Even if the scammer is based in a place where the local law enforcement agencies do not have any jurisdiction, they can spread awareness regarding this scam.
Alternate methods to recover your lost funds
After compiling your paperwork, you can approach online fund recovery agencies. You should approach them, as they have dedicated manpower, technical know-how, and legal expertise. They can help you recover your lost financial funds. One of the major advantages of approaching such a recovery agency is that they will periodically keep you updated regarding the latest developments in your case.
Such recovery agencies also have the latest tools that they can use to track your financial assets if you have invested in cryptocurrencies.
Since they have the legal muscle with them, they can use everything within the legal framework to help you recover your money.
These firms have experts with them who have years of experience recovering money for their clients. They can even advise you on spotting an investment scam and taking precautions regarding it.
Post-pandemic, many jobs have been lost, and these jobs will never come back in the industry. The ongoing recession has also taken a toll on many, so many are forced to have multiple jobs.
Although one can be desperate to improve their financial situation, you should have all the terms and conditions written down before signing on when you find an investment opportunity. Go through all the terms and conditions, and if you find it challenging to understand, you can always go to a local CPA. It is better to understand everything before committing any money to an investment scheme.