Failing to properly help fraud victims will undoubtably leave them
"feeling abandoned at a time of crisis and exposed to future scams".

Victim support is not one-size-fits-all. Here we place victim support into four categories:

  • Prevention Support: This could include up-to-date awareness education on the latest types of scams. Prevention support also includes online tools that can certify the safety of a web site, verify a job opportunity, or test the validity of an email attachment.
  • Reporting Support: Reporting fraud is important to help stop criminals, and to prevent others from falling victim to the same scam. Reporting fraud has variations and levels of urgency. For example, knowing how to report a fraudulent wire transfer is much more time sensitive than reporting a lost social security card.

    Urgent Fraud Reporting. This could include: wire transfers, ransomware attacks, if you just paid a scammer, P2P payments, account takeover, sim-swapping, lost credit cards, investment fraud, stolen wallet, etc.

    Non-Critical Fraud Reporting. While still time-sensitive, this could include: Identity theft, phishing, smishing, stolen mail, computer malware, elder fraud, tax identity fraud, social media fraud, a stolen cell phone or mobile computer, etc.

  • Active Support: Active support is simply providing the fraud victim with additional materials after the fraud incident has been resolved. This can include a handout with "steps to protect your identity" if identity theft was the circumstance. Or a handout on "social media safety" if the scam occurred on a social network site. Not only does this help the victim avoid becoming a repeat victim, but it also demonstrates an additional level of assistance and expertise.
  • Passive Support: The impact of scams on victims goes far beyond financial losses. Ultimately there is no such thing as a "victimless crime" when it comes to fraud. Being scammed can result in trauma, a sense of shame and a knock to the victim's confidence that lasts for months or even years. The consequences go far beyond the financial. Even if the amount of money lost to a scam might not be life-changing, the impact on a victim's wellbeing might well be.

    With heightened online anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak, people everywhere are feeling more vulnerable to online fraud. It is important to reinforce that fraud happens to millions of smart people every minute of the day. Fraud support ensures that you are doing your very best to reassure everyone that staying educated and aware is the only surefire way to avoid future scams.

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