What to do if I’ve been scammed?
Will I be able to get my money back if I fall for a scam? What do I do if it’s an e-commerce scam, monetary or personal information loss or if my online accounts have been hacked or impersonated? The answers to these questions and more.
In the unfortunate event that you fall prey to a scam, here’s what to do to protect yourself from further losses and prevent other victims from being caught out, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. The NCPC is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting public awareness and concern about crime and to propagate the concept of self-help in crime prevention.
Here’s where to report the sellers if they are on the following platforms:
While most platforms put in safeguards to ensure they are free from scams, scammers can still find ways to beat the system to execute their crimes.
Here are some tips for you to stay safe:
- Always pay using the platform’s payment wallet or payment options offered by the platforms.
- Do not switch to making direct payments to the seller via bank transfers to personal bank accounts, even if the seller offers a discount.
- If you did not receive an item you bought online, quickly report the seller to the platform on which you met and transacted with the seller. This is to allow the platform to take down the fraudulent seller’s account as soon as possible.
Monetary or Personal Information Loss
File a police report immediately if you suffer a monetary loss or loss of personal information.
File an e-report online with the Singapore Police Force or in-person at the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre.
What to do while filing a police report on the scam:
Website address (URL) shared by scammers: If a scammer had told you to access a website to key in your banking details or do online trading (phishing and investment scams), or asked you to download a mobile application from a website, you can report the link by keying in the full URL of the scam website visited, which may be from shortened URLs, (e.g. Tinyurl, Bit.ly). Refer to your Internet browser history to retrieve the full link. This allows for the authorities to take action against the website.
Phone numbers used in the scam: If you have fallen prey to a scam, you can report the phone number used by the scammer by entering the entire string of numbers with no spacing in between numbers (omit dashes) in your police report. Please indicate if the number has a ‘+’ prefix. For example: +65123456789
Do state the type of call made, e.g. normal call, WhatsApp, Telegram, IMO, Viber, etc.
Reporting Phishing Emails: If you are reporting against a phishing email, retain the entire email for investigation purposes. Where possible, retrieve the email header and attach it to your report.
Report Bitcoin Wallet used in the scam: If you want to report a bitcoin wallet, copy the entire bitcoin wallet address – which is case sensitive. Do also keep the wallet’s QR code if it was provided to you.
Online Accounts Hacked or Impersonated
If your social media accounts have been compromised, the first thing to do is to notify all your contacts.
Scammers may request for personal information or One-Time Passwords (OTPs) but never share them.
Report the incident to the respective social media platforms immediately.
If your email account has been compromised or hacked, contact your email service provider for help.
If you still have access to your account, change your password right away. Secure passwords or passphrases should contain at least 12 characters, including numbers, symbols and a mix of capital and lowercase letters.
Next, change your security questions and turn on two-step verification for extra security. You may also want to warn your colleagues, family and friends in your email list to delete any suspicious messages that came from your account.
More resources on how to avoid falling prey to scams
Why do people fall for scams? The behavioural and psychological analysis
Prepaid for a package? What happens when the company closes abruptly?
Also, check out Scam Alert by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).
Main picture credit: Scam – Photo by Tara Winstead