While it would be great to think that identify theft and fraud are something the nation has been cracking down on, the fact is that fraud ended up costing consumers over $16 billion last year, which is $1 billion more than the year before. Fraud is no longer something we can push out of our minds and assume will never touch as, as it seems to be occurring at an alarming rate.
There is plenty that government, law enforcement, and financial institutions can do to better the situation, but none of that helps in the moment that you realize you have been a victim of fraud. So, what should you do in this unfortunate circumstance? Here are the steps you’ll want to take.
Understand There Are Many Types of Fraud
The word “fraud” is pretty broad and in legal terms it blankets many different offenses. There can be bank, business, insider trading, bankruptcy, identity theft, credit card, insurance, mail and wire, internet, telemarketing, mortgage/real estate, and workers compensation fraud.
Contact the Police
The first step you will want to take if you are a victim of fraud is to contact the police and file a report. You may need to bring bank records, receipts, emails, etc. This official report will also be needed by other agencies as they work to address the issue.
Contact an Attorney
The next step should be to contact an attorney. Unfortunately, these cases tend to be quite complex, so going about them on your own isn’t advisable.
If you live in the state of Florida then you are much more likely to be a victim of fraud. This is because South Florida has been designated as the organized fraud capital of the whole country. You would want to get in contact with a Florida criminal defender the moment you suspect you are victim of fraud, to ensure that your interests are looked after.
Once you have contacted an attorney they will collect all the facts and information from you, go over your rights and options, and then discuss the possible outcomes you’d be looking at. Choosing an attorney defending clients in similar cases is paramount since they will understand the law and process better than anyone.
Contact Your Credit Card Companies and Your Bank
You will want to be sure that your bank and credit card companies are alerted right away. They can put a fraud alert right on your credit file which will protect you. It may also be wise to freeze your bank account and credit cards until you can get things sorted out. These are steps that your attorney may also be able to advise you on.
A Stressful Situation
Learning you are the victim of fraud can be a very stressful situation for people. There are many steps to take, factors to consider, and there is usually a lot of work on your part. Making sure you follow these steps will help ensure that the fraud is caught, dealt with, and you aren’t left on the hook.