Anyone can get scammed, whether by being tricked into giving money to a fraudster, or by giving up important information and financial account access so their money is stolen. Scammers are smart, sophisticated, experienced and able to impersonate almost anyone using fake emails, false email addresses, smishing text messages and hijacked phone numbers that appear to be authentic.
Digital payment apps and services allow money to be sent to almost anyone instantly, and it’s extremely important to be careful when using them to know exactly who the money is going to. If you willingly authorize and send an electronic payment to the wrong person, then it may not be possible to stop the transfer of funds out of your account or get the money back. For some payment systems, sending funds is almost the same as giving someone cash; the money cannot be retrieved and very often the person taking the funds is not able to be tracked or identified.
Once someone realizes they’ve been scammed and lost their money, what can they do to protect themselves from further losses and, possibly, recover their funds? There are actions to take both with the companies holding financial accounts and with the U.S. government that may be able to help a victim restore their money, protect their accounts, and track down the crooks responsible for a financial loss. It is worth repeating that if you made a choice to send someone money, then a financial institution may consider that an authorized payment and therefore they are not liable for your loss and are not required to provide restitution.
If you think your Delta Community accounts have been compromised, immediately contact our Member Care Center via our toll-free number at 800-544-3328 with whatever details you have, including dates, amounts of money, email messages, email addresses, text messages, phone numbers and names.
Please remember that Delta Community will never call, text or email you to ask for your checking, savings or investment account, ATM, debit or credit card password, your telephone access (IVR) PIN or one-time passcode.
Actions that may help after you’ve been scammed out of money
- If you have already paid the scammer using a credit card or debit card, then immediately contact the financial institution (such as a bank or credit union) that issued the credit card or debit card. Calmly and thoroughly explain to the card issuer representative that the payment was a fraudulent charge, and then ask them to reverse the transaction and return your money to you.
- If the crook has made an unauthorized transfer from your savings or checking account, then quickly contact the bank or credit where you have the account and tell their representative that the transfer was an unauthorized debit or withdrawal. Ask the representative to reverse the transaction and put back the debit amount into your account.
- If you paid the fraudster with a gift card, then contact the company that issued the gift card. Tell company customer service representative that the card was used in a scam and ask if they can refund your money. Hold on to the gift card and the gift card receipt in case you need to validate your request to the gift card company with documentation.
- If you paid with cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Binance Coin, or others), first be aware that cryptocurrency—which is another type of digital payment method—sent to the wrong person may not be recoverable. Because of how cryptocurrency functions, transactions may not be able to be cancelled or reversed after they have been authorized and initiated. Still, it may be possible for wrongly transmitted funds to be refunded. Contact the cryptocurrency exchange or other company where your cryptocurrency is stored and inform them the payment was fraudulent and should not have been made, that sending the cryptocurrency tokens was a mistake. Ask what can be done to get the money back.
- If you sent money through a wire transfer company (such as Western Union®, MoneyGram®, Xoom®, TransferWise®, OFX®, and others), call the wire transfer company. Tell them that you were tricked into making the payment by a scammer. Ask the company to reverse the wire transfer and return your funds.
- If you sent a wire transfer through your bank or credit union, contact them, report the fraudulent transfer, and check if they can reverse the transfer and get your money back.
- If you sent the scammer money through a money transfer app such as Venmo®, PayPal® or Cash App®, then report the crooked transaction to the company that supports the money transfer app and request the company to reverse the payment. If the app is connected to a credit card or debit card, then you should also report the fraud to your credit card company or other issuer, such as bank or credit union and check if they can reverse the charge.
- If you sent cash through U.S. Postal Service mail, then contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and ask if they can intercept the envelope or package and return it to you.
- If you sent cash through a commercial delivery service such as FedEx®, UPS®, DHL®, (or similar companies) contact them quickly and check if the package can be intercepted and returned.
Whether it’s a card issuer, bank, credit union, wire service, delivery service or other financial services provider, it’s likely that the company may not immediately restore the pilfered funds— they will likely require an investigation before the matter is resolved.
Other actions that may help after you’ve been scammed
- If you think someone is trying to defraud you or has already scammed you, collect and report the details (dates and times of contact, emails, phone numbers and phone records, website addresses, text messages, names of contacts or companies that were used), to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- If you have already lost money to a scammer, the FTC has a series of quick steps to take so you can try and recover your funds.
- Another option for anyone who’s been a victim of an internet crime is to report it to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- If you suspect that someone may have stolen your identity and is passing themselves off as you, then visit IdentityTheft.gov. That website is the U.S. government’s one-stop resource for assisting identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you step by step through the identity recovery process.
Be vigilant, be careful and protect your accounts, your personal information—and yourself
The FTC also has detailed recommendations on protecting privacy and data. In 2020, the U.S. government’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offered extensive information on how to improve online security, and some of its advice is in these tip sheets below:
For additional information on protecting accounts or financial guidance, check out the free Delta Community Financial Education Center webinars on a range of money-related topics. You can visit the Financial Education Center's Events & Seminars page to register for its no-cost, on-demand webinars.
There are a range of Delta Community blog and security posts on managing online personal security: