I've been sorting through my emails and I found another email I feel needs to be addressed. Someone read my blog post about K&M Wholesales LTD, they had already given them their information after seeing my post and wanted advice on what to do. I've been blogging so much about scams I totally forgot I should also be posting what to do if someone has become a victim of a scam.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam here is some advice that may help you.
1. Take a look at the information you gave. How personal was it? Name, Address, Phone number, Date of Birth, email address?
People can find out a variety of things about you just by running an Internet searches on such information. You should run a search on your information and see what comes up. If you find something you don't want seen on the web you might be able to ask the website owner to remove the content.
It is possible to maybe get more information on you, I.E. your Social Security Number. If you think your social security number maybe compromised call the Social Security Office.
Social Security has a toll-free number that operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday: 1-800-772-1213. If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
You can have your number flagged for up to 7 years. This requires companies who want to run a credit check on you to take additional steps to verify it's really you. The additional steps can range from a phone call to your house or a verification letter to your most recent address, not necessarily the address written on the application they received but the most recent one that is on your credit report.
This brings me to another suggestion. Get a credit report. Check for suspicious activity such as additional address's, credit card companies whom you didn't apply to running credit checks, marital status change, various spellings of your name. If there are any report it to the credit report company.
2. Gave out bank account or credit card information?
Call the bank or credit card company immediately. Do a balance check and an activity check. Notify them your account has been compromised, don't maybe or you think, tell them it has been. They can assist you on what to do. In extreme cases your may need to close those accounts to prevent the fraud. Yes, it is a pain but would you rather have the fraud stopped or have it ruin you?
3. You sent out a western union check or money transfer to a total stranger.
Hmmmm...the best thing you can do is contact western union hopefully the scammer was not able to claim the money yet. You might also want to look at the western union site regarding scams. They have a whole list of countries which generate the most scams. However, once the money is gone I don't think much can be done to retrieve it, be thankful the scammer didn't get more or get access to your bank account.
4. You started or are about to start cashing checks for a company you think might be scammers.
If you are already cashing checks stop, notify your bank, chances are you will need to close the account after all transactions have cleared....or not. I can't stress enough to never, never deposit a check into your account from an unknown source. This only spells trouble.
If you are have a check in hand from a potentially bogus source, take the check into your bank have them make a phone call to the bank it's drawn off of . Even if the check is a cashiers check from another bank or a money order. You may find out those checks are stolen simple because the teller called in the sequence numbers and they matched a batch of stolen checks, the numbers didn't match that banks sequence at all, or the check is from a closed account.
Unfortunately there really isn't any type of protection from this scam because it has to do with your personal bank account which you sign an agreement with the bank stating you will keep it in good standing. I have yet to see a bank offer protection against this type of fraud and I doubt that will happen, mainly because if they did, they would go bankrupt bailing out every person who gets caught up in this.
Most banks have a policy for you to put your account information on the back of the check. Then the teller stamps the banks routing number on the back of the check. Guess what the scammers just got a hold of. Your banks routing number and your account number. All they have to do is send one valid check to you, that check comes back to them with your information on the back. Normally though these companies just send bogus checks and have you try to send them the money as soon as possible before the bank can come back and say the check isn't good. By then you are out the money, plus you have bank fees for everything that has bounced. See it can take a lot longer than 10 days for an out of state or out of country check to clear, however as a courtesy the bank will allow the money from the check to available sooner. This is the type of system the scammers are banking on, they hope you can pressure your bank to clear the funds quicker, so they can skip out with you holding the bag.
5. You got an email, job offer, or Internet offer and it looks legit.
Run a Google search on the company name, email address, and/or person's name on
the email. See what comes up. Sometimes scam artist will use real companies, if you come up with a company web site call the number provided on the site and ask them. This doesn't mean they are legit however if the scammer is hiding behind a real company chances are they've already been called and will let you know it's not them.
Still not sure, ask for more information. Don't be afraid to ask them questions, if they come back with vague answers or the tone of email seems to be aggressive I.E. Don't ask us questions we are the ones offering you this dream opportunity. Also, if they insist on you using a certain bank and no other that is a red flag. Some banks have shorter check clearing times and the scammer counts on that.
Some Points to Ponder, things to ask yourself when looking at scam mails
1. If someone is claiming to be a representative from a big international company chances are they don't need your personal checking account to process checks. A company of that size will have an accounts payable department set up to receive payments of all types.
2. A total stranger from another country is not going to trust another total stranger from a different country with a large sum of money. Would you?
3. What about that rich distant relative that died in another country? Chances are you weren't in their will anyways and you were never mentioned by them to anyone. How many people do you know talk to total strangers abroad about ALL the people they are related to and give out their distant relatives email address?
4. Missionary needs your help to send money home for charity but needs you to pay some Nigerian court to get the money out of escrow. With all the scams coming out of this country I'm surprised they bother with a court system. Also, it's the government officials of that country with the money not some poor missionary.
5. Some rich lady in a distance country is dying of cancer and doesn't have any relatives to leave her money to, however her "evil" in laws are waiting for her to die, she found your email address on the web and it looked honest. If your email address is hot269, boomboombigdaddy, way2young4u, satansminion, littledevil, stolenid or something like it does it sound honest to you? If the in laws are that evil she has the money to get rid of them. Also, if a poor Mexican can cross the border to work, then surely a lady of money can get herself out of the country she claims to be from.
6. You've won the English Lottery! Are you english? Have you ever been to England? Do you live in England? Does the money in your pocket have the Queens face on it? If you've answered No to at least questions chances are the only thing you've won is a chance to get screwed and not in the way you'd prefer.
7. The Internal Revenue service owes you a refund click on this link to receive it! The IRS only notifies you via snail mail, if you owe money. If they owe you more of a refund they notify you at the time you receive your real refund along with a long winded explanation about why you're a screw up and be thankful their accountants spent the tax payers money finding your mistake.