What to do if you’ve been scammed


In this week’s ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert, an expert offers advice

Consumers continue to be victimized by scammers – many pretending to be a bank or major retailer – with losses in the billions of dollars each year. But that’s just the scams we know about.

Law enforcement officials believe many scam victims never report the crime because they are embarrassed. They shouldn’t be. Scammers are clever manipulators and can cause smart people to act without thinking.

If you have been the victim of a scam, law enforcement wants to know about it. Reporting it to your local police department is a first step. After that, Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, says there are other steps you should take.

“Change passwords immediately, particularly if a shared password was used across multiple accounts,” Clay told ConsumerAffairs. “Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security.”

If you have been a victim of a scam, it’s likely you will be targeted again in the future. Clay says you should monitor all of your accounts for any suspicious activities, like unfamiliar logins or transactions. 

Additional steps

“Scan devices for malware to ensure they are not compromised,” Clay said. “Notify your bank about the scam to aid in halting any fraudulent transactions and to stay alert for suspicious activities.”

This week, Trend Micro's research team identified scammers impersonating PayPal, asking email receivers to open the malicious attachment. If the victim clicks the attachment, malicious software will be executed on their devices.  Trend Micro detected 213 logs between October 1 and 3. 

Trend Micro's research team also identified scammers pretending to be business partners with the victim's company, claiming that they received a new invoice from a colleague. The scammer prompts the victim to provide credential information to the attachment, giving them access to sensitive information.

Take an Identity Theft Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.