Recovering from Fraud: What You Need to Know

Being a victim of fraud can be traumatic but it's important to take steps to stop new losses & report crime as soon as possible. Learn more.

Recovering from Fraud: What You Need to Know

Being a victim of fraud can be a traumatic experience, but it's important to take the right steps to stop new losses and report the crime as soon as possible. Gathering all the information you have about the plan and its authors while it's still up to date is essential. Discussing how you can repair the damage and prevent fraud in the future is also important. Fraud crimes can have a devastating effect on your financial security and that of your loved ones.

If you're elderly, disabled, or on a fixed income and don't have opportunities to recover your losses, you may face additional trauma, including the loss of your independence. It's essential to report fraud crimes to appropriate agencies and law enforcement as soon as possible, and challenge or cancel any fraudulent charges that are discovered. In addition, victims must gather all documentation related to the crime (for example, bank statements, credit reports, current year and previous years' tax forms) and continue to archive important information throughout the reporting process. The staff of the Victims and Witnesses Program will work to learn about your needs, feelings and concerns, and answer any questions you may have about your participation in the case. With ongoing technological advances and the globalization of trade, today's fraudsters have a new arsenal of weapons to defraud consumers and steal personal information. Placing a fraud alert is free and generally lasts up to a year or until you request that it be removed. Returning to normality can be a difficult process after such a personal experience, especially for victims of violent crime and the families of victims of murder.

If you've experienced other types of fraud and don't know where to send your complaint, the Department of Justice has a directory that can help. If you live in England or Wales, you should report scams to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre (0300 123 2040).Mass marketing fraud often includes fake checks, charities, sweepstakes, lotteries, and exclusive invitations to clubs or honor societies. If the fraud occurred in your local community, you can also report the matter to the police and district attorney. You can also contact one of the three national credit reporting companies (below) and ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit file. While the facts are still fresh in your memory, draw up a schedule and gather documents and information that can help you report or investigate fraud.

The criminal is fraudulent for taking advantage of you financially, betraying your trust, and jeopardizing your financial independence and security. Other reasons why victims may not report their crimes include doubts about their own judgment, sense of betrayal, fear of how their family, friends and business associates will react, feeling that their losses aren't big enough to report, not wanting to get involved, thinking that law enforcement agencies won't take the crime seriously or that nothing will be gained by reporting it. These frauds target recent victims and claim that they can recover stolen money if they first pay an initial fee, a “donation”, an advance or back taxes. Shame, guilt, shame and disbelief are some of the reasons why it is estimated that only 15 percent of the country's fraud victims report their crimes to law enforcement.