There is a wide range of investment frauds – the most popular one currently being online banking scams – that you might fall victim to and such situations won’t only impact your finances on a grand scale, but they’ll also cause a lot of emotional distress including fear, anxiety, or even worse, depression and insomnia.
If you found yourself in this situation, you should know that you aren’t alone. In fact, a lot of people have experienced the same thing in recent years, and when they did, they knew exactly what they need to do to protect themselves. To make things easier for you, here are the five steps you must take if you’re a target of investment fraud:
Step 01: Before Anything Else – You Must File a Report
Before you choose to do anything else from this particular list, the very first step that you’ll have to take is to report the fraud to the government departments responsible for dealing with investment scams. Now, keep in mind, each state and country has its own regulations and laws when it comes to reporting this type of fraud, hence, before you pick up your phone and call a specific department, make sure that you’ll be reporting it to the right legal entity.
You should know, there are even options for reporting the scam through online platforms, so, if you want to speed up the process, you could opt for doing this. During the filing process, you’ll need to answer a wide array of questions, and of course, you’ll also need to submit your personal information. After you report it, they’ll assess your report and from there, they’ll decide if they have enough info for it to be investigated further. If it’s sent to the police, you’ll receive a crime number which you should keep safe.
Step 02: You Must Contact Your Bank
When you’re done with the aforementioned step, you should then contact your bank. Keep in mind, depending on the payment method you opted for during the investment fraud, you might be capable of making a claim. Nonetheless, to help you understand what you must do and whether you can be charged back, you must look at the payment method, which, in most cases, are the following options:
- Debit Card – some financial institutions implement a chargeback system, however, you won’t be able to know if they’re capable of recovering the funds you’ve invested in a scam. No matter the situation, you must ensure that you notify your bank about the situation so that they can try and get your funds back.
- Credit Card – just like with a debit card, recovery may not be assured with this type of payment as well. Payments done by this method are more protected, which is why one of the most important things that you could and should do is to reach out to your financial institution and make them aware of the hoax you’ve been implicated in.
- Unauthorized Payments – if your funds have been removed from the accounts without your consent, it could be possible for you to claim them back. If this occurs, you must contact your bank as soon as you can since you’ll increase the chances of them returning your funds.
- A Bank Transfer – lastly, if you’ve been scammed into moving money from a bank account, you must call your bank immediately after this happens. Why? Well, in this situation, they might be capable of recovering your cash right away, which is why time is quite important.
Step 03: Gather All The Paperwork, Documents, And Evidence
Next is to gather all the paperwork, documents, and evidence that you possess. No matter what piece of evidence you possess, you must place it into the file you’re creating, mostly because it can aid with supporting the claims you have. In most cases, there are eight crucial pieces of info that you can gather, if possible, of course. The information that you should try to get is the fraudster’s name, email address, physical address, website URL (if existent), and a timeline of everything that occurred.
However, according to the experts from mdf-law.com, you must also include the crime number you received along with the law enforcement report, as well as when you contacted your bank, what they told you, and of course, the statements that’ll serve as evidence of the fraud. Try to gather all this info, especially since it can help you get your funds back, but more importantly, it can help law enforcement locate the scammer.
Step 04: You Must Speak to & Hire an Attorney
Besides telling you which legal rights you have while trying to recover from investment fraud, speaking to and hiring an attorney will also help you get the advice you require, thus, make sure that you hire someone that specializes in this particular legal issue. Keep in mind, before you opt for hiring the first attorney that comes up in your search results, you must compare several options so that you can choose a suitable lawyer.
Now, besides comparing the price, years in the field, as well as experience in dealing with such cases, you must also read the reviews left by previous clients. Of course, you can do so by reading the ones left on their official websites, however, if transparency is what you’re looking for, transparency is what you’ll receive by reading testimonials left on independent review sites, so check them out as well!
Step 05: Decide How to Continue
When you’re done with all the aforementioned steps – calling our bank, reporting the scam to the right departments, and speaking with an attorney – you’ll be able to make a suitable decision revolving around how you should proceed with the recovery process. If your bank managed to recover your funds, the rest of the process may be difficult, thus, take some time and determine how you’ll approach the entire situation.
Being a victim of investment fraud is never easy and it’ll create a wide range of issues for you. However, if you opt for following the steps we’ve mentioned above, you won’t only make everything less stressful, but you’ll do everything in your power to get your money back.