So you just noticed that your “best buddy” – a boiler room guy who has told you that he is probably one of the most experienced online traders ever – is no longer reachable for you. Neither he nor anyone else from the frenzy online trading website reacts to your emails, no one has called you back for several weeks, and most importantly, the promised refund of your money has not yet arrived.
Summarized, you just realized that you got SCAMMED! so what can you do?
As we have heard the stories of more than 1000 victims experiencing the same as you have, we advise as follows:
- Do not think that you are the one to blame, and do not be ashamed! This kind of fraud you just experienced has been going on for more than ten years in Europe. There are thousands of victims who have experienced the same as you do right now. The scammers have earned considerable funds to establish vast and very professional criminal organizations. The boiler room guys (your best buddy – as long as he assumed you still have funds to invest) have got scripts written by well-educated people to track you into the scam.
- Calm down, do not get desperate! Do not engage even more unscrupulous recovery companies, promising to get the stolen funds back and asking for significant upfront payments. They can not get your funds back. When you discover the fraud, your money has vanished already. Stop thinking that you can earn your money back by investing with another online investment website promising great and unrealistic returns. Currently, more than 99% of online investment websites are scams.
- Accept that getting your funds back quickly and within days or months is impossible. Prepare yourself for a long-lasting and exhausting fight with an uncertain result.
- If you just (a few days ago) made another deposit via bank transfer resp via credit card/debit card to the scammers, be sure to get in touch with your bank immediately, tell them to stop the transaction right now, and promise to bring evidence for the fraud.
- Collect all evidence. Establish a written summary of what happened to you. Collect all your deposit slips showing the transfers to the scammers, store all emails exchanged with the scammers.
- Use the written summary and all collected evidence to file a criminal complaint with adequate law authority as soon as possible. There are thousands of other people who experienced the same fraud. You support the scammers by not telling the police what happened to you. You also enable the European authorities to tell everyone that everything is fine with cybersecurity for consumers in Europe.
- Ask for a copy of the criminal complaint and write down the phone number and email address of the person in charge as you will have to bother this person during the next weeks and months. If the police offer keeps telling you that there are no chances to identify the scammers and you are the one to blame, reject the answer. You are a fraud victim and rightfully ask for a proper criminal investigation.
- Please take a copy of the criminal complaint, send it to your bank, and ask for a chargeback of all your credit card/debit card transactions. Be prepared for a fight as they will refuse it, they will tell you that you made online investments, so there is no possibility of a chargeback. Ask for your case to be sent to the fraud department of your bank/credit card organization. Be persistent and get ready for many emails and calls you will have to do before getting back your money.
- If you only did bank transfers, be prepared that there is no chargeback possible for authorized push payments. Nevertheless, tell your bank to contact the bank they sent the money to and try to freeze the beneficiary’s account. Sometimes – not very often – some money is left on the beneficiary’s account.
- Be persistent: Get aware that your bank will tell you that they are just service providers. Your requests will bother them. This is not your fault. They have some obligations as you are their customer. In the United States, victims have filed a legal claim against their banks, accusing them of getting information about a specific fraud system and not warning their other customers who also fell for this scam.
- Warn other people about the fraud you experienced by writing bad reviews about the scammers on Trustpilot or on Forex Peace Army and writing to Fintelegram.
- Be persistent and do not get frustrated, be prepared to get the information from the prosecutor that they closed your criminal case because of being unable to identify the scammer. Keep calling them and writing them that you do not accept the decision to close the criminal case. It will not help – because they will close the case anyway- but they should be aware that you do not agree to this procedure.
- Join fraud fighter groups (like here on Facebook) and look for victims of the same scam on other social media channels. Fighting with others makes it a lot easier.
- Get active in alerting the supervisory authorities about the scam you experienced and their responsibility to protect you and go after the fraudsters.
- Join us (EFRI) as we go against the banks and the European supervisory authorities. Both are neglecting their duties in many respects.
- Strictly avoid recovery scammers. When the scammers realize that you have no more money to spend, they sell your data (email address, phone numbers, total loss experienced). Recovery scammers pay high amounts for the victims’ data. The victims’ data sale subsequently results in many cold callings and massive email spamming from other scammers. Stop talking to them; they do not intend to help you.