icon of two gears to show concept of expanded lessons Expanded Lesson 5 min read

Help I've Been Scammed! What Should I Do Now?

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So, you believe you’re the victim of a scam—what do you do now? Online scams are becoming increasingly common as online scammers and hackers look for new ways to trick consumers into handing over their personal information. If you’ve been scammed, you might have noticed an unauthorized transaction posted to your bank account or your funds may be lower than expected. There’s also a chance that you sent your personal information to the wrong person by mistake, including your debit and credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, phone number or email address. If you notice a problem with your account, there are several ways to rectify the situation. Follow these steps to secure your money before the scammer has a chance to make another withdrawal.

You woman, concerned, talking on phone in her home office.

What to Do If You Have Been Scammed Online

There are lots of different types of scams. Use the following guide to find the right solution to your problem:

Did You Send the Scammer Money?

If you sent money to someone you shouldn’t have, first identify the form of payment. If you used a credit or debit card, contact the card provider and tell them to cancel the card. If you transferred money from your bank account, contact your financial institution to learn what options you have. If you used a gift card, contact the company that issued the card and tell them to cancel it. You may be able to receive a refund.

If you used a wire transfer, contact the company immediately and tell them to cancel the transaction. Be sure to reference the transaction number when speaking with a customer representative.

If you used a mobile payment app such as Venmo or PayPal, contact the customer service hotline and ask them to cancel the transaction. These apps may be connected to your bank account or credit card, so you’ll need to report it to your financial institution, so they can cancel the card or transaction.

If you sent a check or cash in the mail, contact the carrier, such as the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS, and ask them to send the package back to the sender. 

Does the Scammer Have Your Personal Information?

If the scammer has access to your personal information, take these steps to protect your identity:

If the person has access to your Social Security number, contact the authorities at IdentityTheft.gov to report it. You won’t get a new Social Security number, but they can help you prevent the person from using your identity. Read Identity Theft: What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen to learn more about what to do.

If they have access to your bank account information, you can put a temporary freeze on your account so the person can’t spend your money.

If they have access to your username and password, change your login information. Try to make your new password as difficult to guess as possible. View Is your Password Secure? Tips to Improve your Password Habits for additional tips.

Does the Person Have Access to Your Phone or Computer?

Some hackers can gain access to your personal devices, including cellphones, tablets, computers and the Internet of Things (IoT) (smart devices that are connected to the internet).

If the person has access to your device, contact the manufacturer to report the issue. They should be able to help you regain access to your device if you’ve been locked out. Once you regain control, change your operating system password and username to secure your account. You may be able to look up a solution online using customer threads and forums. It’s usually best to update the software and run a security check, so the device can get rid of the virus that’s causing the problem.

Who to Contact If You Have Been Scammed or Hacked?

In addition to the steps listed above, contact the following:

When contacting the Ent information security team, be sure to include as much information about the scammers as possible, including how and when they contacted you, how much information they have and whether you’ve noticed any strange activity on your account. It’s best to include screenshots of suspicious emails, texts, phone numbers and other forms of communication. This helps us prevent scams in the future.

Share the same information with the authorities to help them bring the scammers to justice. You may be asked to file a police report. Every piece of communication can be a potential clue. Some people may be ashamed to admit that they fell victim to a scam, but it happens to the best of us. We all have to work together to prevent cybercrimes, fraud and abuse.

When contacting the credit reporting bureau, tell them that someone has access to your account or that someone has been making fraudulent charges. They can issue a credit freeze so these purchases don’t affect your score.

Ent Credit is here to help you protect your financial information as cybercrime becomes the new normal. We will never ask you to send or share your personal information over the phone, text or email. If you receive a message from someone claiming to be Ent, report it to our security center, so we can help you determine whether it’s real or fake. We will always reimburse you for lost money due to unauthorized charges made to your account. You never have to worry about someone stealing your money when you’re a member of Ent. Contact your local branch to learn more about how we’re keeping your information safe.

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