Unfortunately, online scamming is becoming all too common and often affects the most vulnerable in our society. Scammers know whom to target and what to do and say to inveigle their way into people’s lives for the sole purpose of taking money from them.
This is mainly done online whereby the person you think you are talking to is, in fact, a fraudster from another country.
Scammers are all too often based overseas and take many steps not to be caught. Which means getting justice can an all-too-difficult task. Which is why we’ve put together this helpful article to help you know what to do if you have been scammed online.
Different Types of Online Scams
There are many ways cyber thieves’ work such as sending emails you may believe are from a trusted source, such as your bank, but in fact, are the work of fraudsters. They will then have access to your financial information and can trick you into moving money.
Social Media / Catfish Scams
Another all too common online scam is false social media profiles. A fraudster will set up a false account, using false information including photographs and family information. They will then attempt to get involved in a romantic way with say a lonely widow, and over a few weeks or even months will gain their trust and eventually ask for money.
Often this is asked as a short-term loan or just to assist them with some sort of crisis such as needing an operation. Of course, the money is never paid back or seen again.
Romance scams and online dating scams can also occur when someone uses online dating and the scammer will feign romantic interest to then attempt to commit fraud.
Financial scams occur in many different forms, one of them being investment scams but the result is the same. You are encouraged to hand over money to invest in a company or product which in fact does not exist.
Unfortunately, during this current health crisis, we are also seeing many COVID-19 scams where unscrupulous criminals are exploiting the nation’s fears about COVID-19 to prey on vulnerable people who are currently isolated from family and friends. They will send fake emails tricking people into opening attachments that will then enable a virus or asking for personal information to assist them with identity theft.
There are some ways you can help yourself not to be a target for online scammers.
How to Be Aware of the Signs of Online Scamming
If you receive an email from someone that you believe is a legitimate source such as your bank, HMRC or Amazon account always call the company to confirm the email has come from them. The way the scams work in this way is they will encourage you to click on a link and log into your account but in fact, this will be going to a fake website which has then collected your information. This is known as Phishing and is highly profitable for the scammers.
What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed Online
- Hire a Private Investigator
- Report Scam to Action Fraud
- Be Aware of Follow-up Scams
- Change All Compromised Personal Information
- Update/Install Anti-Virus Software
1. Hire a Private Investigator
Many people now turn to the experts, private investigators, who are experienced in dealing with scammers and who can try to locate whom the culprit is. The first thing they will advise you to do is stop sending money (if a relationship or financial scam) and change all passwords etc. on all devices. Once you advise them that you have been scammed, they will assess the situation and advise how best to help.
2. Report Scam to Action Fraud
Report it to Action Fraud who will be able to look into this for you and it is a free of charge service. However, the volume of cases they receive is very high and as such it may take many months before they even look into your case.
3. Be Aware of Follow-up Scams
Watch out for follow-up scams. Some fraudsters will then contact you purporting to be from a fraud company stating they can assist you in getting your money back and again gain more information from you.
4. Change All Compromised Personal Information
The scammer may have infected your computer with a virus. Therefore, reset all passwords and inform your bank your financial information may have been stolen.
5. Update/Install Anti-Virus Software
Ensure that all of your devices have all the necessary anti-virus software and that they are all up to date.
How Often Are Online Scammers Caught?
Unfortunately, the statistics of catching scammers is low due to their highly sophisticated ways of hiding their true identity. Figures show that in the first six months of 2019, scammers stole £616 million from individuals in the UK which clearly shows how widespread this is and the figure recouped was only 21%.
However, using the services of a private investigator can assist.
We would, therefore, recommend you contact Global Investigations who have many years’ experience in online scams and are leaders in the industry of scams and fraud investigations.
They will attempt to locate the perpetrators and bring effective closure through sustained and intelligent fraud investigation services.
For any further information or a quote, please contact Global Investigations on +44 (0)208 287 7770 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.