What to do when you’ve been scammed out of money online | #socialmedia | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker

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Got scammed online? You might be able to get your money back. (Photo: Getty)

First, the bad news: There are a lot of scammers out there, and unfortunately, some of them manage to get money from unsuspecting victims. These days, you can get scammed while shopping online, searching for a loan, booking a vacation, or looking for a job. Cybercriminals have even expanded their reach to include text messages, where scams are sent via SMS messages.

“The rapid growth in SMS-driven fraud is probably the most dangerous and increasingly common,” Rob Shavell, co-founder and chief executive officer of the consumer cybersecurity firm DeleteMe, tells Yahoo Life. “Well-spoofed text messages don’t provide any clear detail or cues as to the identity of the sender, nor do they provide hints in the shortened links they typically provide, making phishing tactics far more successful by taking advantage of a single press of a finger.”

Now, for the good news: There are steps you can take to protect yourself. And if you do get scammed and lose money in the process, there are ways you can get your money back in some cases.

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

There are ways you can avoid becoming the target of online scammers. (Photo: Getty)

“One of the best ways you can protect yourself from scams of all types is to clean up your digital footprint,” says Shavell. “Old email accounts, social media profiles, companies you’ve done business with that have subsequently gone out of business — all of these past records leave a trail of information online that eventually ends up for sale on public databases. Improving personal information hygiene helps people avoid being targeted by scammers in the first place.”

Using a safeguard like Malwarebytes can serve as a buffer between you and cybercriminals. The software stack offers 24/7 real-time protection against a variety of significant existing and emerging threats, including malware, viruses, spyware, online scams, phishing sites, and ransomware, to help stop them before they can reach you.

In addition, review your records for suspicious charges, but also ensure you were billed the correct amount by auditing your transactions.

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

How to get your money back

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam and lost money, here’s what you can do to try to get it back. If you made a payment with a debit or credit card, you may be able to ask your bank to help get your money back through what’s called a chargeback.

Let’s say you give your credit card number to someone to charge a certain amount on it, but later realize more money was charged without your permission or your knowledge. You can make a claim for the extra amount through your credit card company.

Talk to your bank right away about any discrepancies in your account. (Photo: Getty)

If you’ve been targeted in a bank transfer scam — when you unknowingly transfer money from your own bank account to a scammer’s account — then you should contact your bank immediately. Explain to the bank what happened, and let them know the bank account number your money was sent to.

If the scammer has taken payment for an item through a reputable organization and then hasn’t sent you what you paid for, you should be covered by most payment portal buyer protection programs. But there are some exceptions and time limits on lodging a claim.

Most secure payment gateway services provide recommendations on how to avoid fraud and scams, so it’s a good idea to read their advice to protect yourself against scams of this kind in the future.

Got scammed? If you paid by debit or credit card, you might be able to get your money back. (Photo: Getty)

However, sometimes you might not be able to get your money back if you’ve been scammed out of your cash. This can be the case for wire transfer services, for example, which can be difficult to receive a refund from. That said, the Federal Trade Commission recommends calling the wire transfer company right away, telling them it was a fraudulent transfer, and asking them to reverse the wire transfer.

If you’ve been scammed, consider reporting the fraud to the police to see if they can take any action, as well as to your state consumer protection office. You can also report scams to the FTC. File a report online with the FTC, or by phone at (877) 382-4357. These reports are used by government agencies to recognize scam patterns. Some may even take action against companies or industries based on those reports. However, most agencies do not follow up on complaints and cannot recoup lost funds.

In the future, if you get an email from a person, brand or store you’re not familiar with, it’s best not to click on any links. If you’re asked for credit card details by anyone other than your bank or a legitimate business you know, don’t give it out. Also, be wary of anyone who says you can only pay by wire transfer. According to the FTC, if you wire money to a person trying to sell you something over the phone, for example, you won’t have the same protections as you would using a credit card. It’s also illegal for a telemarketer to ask you to pay with a wire transfer, according to the FTC.

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

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