Fraud Victims - Do's and Don'ts

Richard Francis Woodford Jr.

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Fraud Lawyer

Contributor Level 11

Posted about 4 years ago. 4 helpful votes

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1

Do: Admit that you are a victim of fraud and quickly find out what the full damage is

Most frauds are not immediately detected or reported to authorities because victims either don't know (or are in denial) about the betrayal, especially if the fraudster is someone who was closely trusted. No one likes to appear foolish or gullible, but you need to report the fraud and take positive steps to find out what was stolen, and file the necessary reports with police, banks, and creditors to stop further losses. Identity thieves move quickly and will try to maximize their gains while you are left unaware of the losses. Active credit monitoring, fraud alerts, and simply writing "Ask for ID" on the back of your credit cards in permanent marker can help reduce your chances of fraud losses. If you become aware of financial fraud, you must move quickly to regain control of your accounts and good credit. If this info was helpful, please mark the "thumbs up" button below.

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Do Not: Let the fraudster off the hook if they pay you back or claim it was a "honest mistake"

Only people in positions of trust can hurt us by intentionally deceiving us and lying, cheating, or stealing from us. Many times, these fraudsters are relatives, loved ones, or close associates and friends, so it is only human nature that we want to forgive and forget, especially if the money is paid back. "Honest" mistakes do not involve forging a name, multiple withdrawals/purchases, or providing knowingly false information to merchants or creditors. If someone you trusted has abused your trust by stealing your cash, credit, or car you may have to teach some "tough love" by filing a report with the police. This is not a step to be taken lightly, because it will alter the course of your relationship with the fraudster. Fraudsters will continue to choose behaviors that give them what they want (cash, credit, cars, etc.) so long as they perceive that they will not have to pay the consequences. If they thought that they would be caught and punished, they wouldn't keep stealing.

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Do: Report suspected fraud at your place of work - yes, even if it is the Boss.

If you suspect that your Boss or co-workers are secretly stealing from the company, you can be suffering daily stress with the burden of knowing and possibly be implicated by association, if you fail to report it. If your company has an anonymous hotline or fraud reporting system, use it. If the boss is also the owner, report fraud to the state's attorney general or the board of directors. Be prepared to find new work - whistleblowing may set you free mentally, but may have personal costs. Do not expect that you can confront the fraudster without reporting it to higher authority - a clever fraudster may actually turn the tables and have the nerve to report YOU for the fraud that they have committed. Provide as much hard information/reports as you have - you don't have to play "CSI" but you need some facts to support your suspicions. Fraud is hidden, and smart fraudsters take great pains to cover their theft as "normal" or a "one time mistake." Silence helps keep fraud alive.

Additional Resources

www.acfe.com www.ethicsline.com

Ethics Line

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