Are You a Scam Victim?

What to do:
If you are a scam victim, change passwords, run antivirus, call police, contact credit bureaus & financial companies.

Why do it:
The FBI advises about red flags to look for that might indicate that you are a victim: passwords not working, a large number of pop-up ads, unexplained online activity, slow-running devices and altered system settings.

How to do it:
If you are unlucky enough to be a victim of cybercrime, don’t hesitate to take action. In general, you should:

  • Change your passwords on your personal computer or smartphone and any password-protected websites you visit (especially financial institutions).
  • If you have protective software, such as antivirus software, run a full scan immediately to remove the malware from your device. For PCs, it may be necessary to completely reset your system to its original condition/settings – if you aren’t comfortable doing that, consult a professional. For smartphones, consider doing a factory reset, if you don’t have antivirus/malware scanning software.
  • If you are a victim of a ransomware attack (malware has encrypted your device’s data files and demands ransom to decrypt) and have a remote, multi-version backup of your device’s files (e.g. Carbonite), you may be able to restore all files after the ransomware virus is removed. If you don’t have a remote, multi-version backup, but have do-it-yourself spirit, check out the No More Ransom project at website
    If this is daunting to you, consult a professional.
  • File a complaint with your local police department or district attorney’s office and, if needed, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center – known as the IC3. A complaint can be submitted at
  • If you believe that your personal identity has been stolen (i.e. identity theft) – for example, that someone can gain credit in your name or can steal from your online-accessible accounts – it’s time to do the following:

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