We all hope it doesn’t happen to us, but the fact of the matter is scammers are getting increasingly more clever, and schemes like old fashioned get rich quick are getting harder to spot. So let’s suspend disbelief for a second and say you did get caught in a get rich quick scheme, pyramid, ponzi, or otherwise, and now you’re looking for a way out. What do you do? Let’s take a look.
- Break Off All Contact
The first thing you want to do is secure whatever assets you have. If the scheme needed access to your bank account, whether for withdrawals, deposits, or something else, alert your bank, have your account locked down, and get your money somewhere secure. Cancel any credit cards to which they may have had access. Block their phone number from your phone. Do whatever you need to do to get what you have secure as fast as possible, and don’t let the company or person perpetrating the scheme know what you’ve done or why. The point is to get yourself as secure and far away from them as possible. Do everything in your power to get yourself secure as fast as possible. Then gather any information from your old accounts (deposit records and things of that nature) and get them ready for step two.
- Gather And Report Data
Once you’ve got yourself secure, you’re going to want to get all the information you’ve been given, any contact, promotional info, receipts, bills, invoices, statements, sales info, even copies of things like text messages and screen caps of web pages compiled and ready to present. The more data you have, the better. Take all of that and prep it for submission to a local authority, such as your local Attorney General’s office or tax office. Exactly who you should talk to depends on what type of scheme you got caught in, but you should absolutely let someone in a position of authority know, and provide them with any information you can that may help them track down the scammer. Even if the company is legitimate, their questionable actions could prime them for a class-action or civil lawsuit.
Alternatively, if you found out that the company was operating illegally, you may want to pursue litigation of your own. In that case, you’re going to want to get an attorney on your side quick, preferably one that specializes in a subject related to the scheme in which you were caught.
- Set A Plan For Recovery
If you have any major losses, now is the time to start thinking about recovery. Work with a financial planner to help you build a smart savings and investing plan to get back your losses, and be specific about working with trusted names and established brands in any applicable investment. It will take time, but you can get back what you paid in, as long as you’re diligent about your savings and spending plan.