Broker Check

Victim of Online Fraud?

| October 12, 2023

Keeping your PII (personally identifiable information) safe in today’s online environment is more challenging than ever. There may not be one simple solution for protecting your digital identity, but there are steps you can take to help thwart criminals. Freezing your credit, updating software on your devices, staying knowledgeable about the latest scams, making sure your passwords are hyper-secure, and regularly backing up your data will lessen your chances of compromising your personal online information. Sadly, sometimes that’s still not enough.

If you have reason to believe you’ve been the victim of a cybercrime or identity theft, here are some crucial steps you should take:

Alert the company where the fraud has occurred.

Immediately change your passwords for all online accounts.

Close any compromised credit or debit cards.

File a police report so you can provide it to banks, creditors, businesses, or credit bureaus as evidence of the crime.

If your data has been compromised by a corporate data breach, look for instructions on what to do next from the business or agency whose data was breached.

Contact one of the three credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent further damage.

Once you’ve taken the actions above, you should also report it to the following agencies:

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) - They refer each internet-related criminal complaint to the appropriate state, local, federal, or international law enforcement.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - They share complaints with the proper law enforcement partners and provide you with the next steps to take. - They accept complaints regarding any online scams that deal with foreign companies.

Department of Justice (DOJ) - They help you report to the proper agencies based on the scope of all internet-, intellectual property- and computer-related crimes.

Not only will these steps help you get things squared away, but they can potentially assist authorities in their investigations to stop criminals from taking advantage of others. Good luck, and stay vigilant!