SCARS Next Steps™ – You Gave The Scammer Your Information?

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SCARS Next Steps™ – You Gave The Scammer Your Information?

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit to learn more about SCARS. Next Steps™ – You Gave The ScammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Your Information?


You Gave The Scammer Your Id And Maybe Even Access To Your Banking Or Credit Cards?


First, let us say you are not alone. A significant number of scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. victims give their scammers all kinds of personal information about themselves.

However, this now presents some very severe risks to you. The exact nature of the risks depends on what information you gave to your scammer.

If you gave your address, you do not really have to worry about the scammers coming in the middle of the night – they are scammers – they lie for a living. But if you are fearful contact your local policeLocal Police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. about this.

The greater danger is what they can do with this information.

Understanding Identity TheftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. and How It Affects Scam Victims

Each year, millions discover that a criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. has fraudulently used their personal information to obtain goods and services and that they have become victims of identity theft.

Under U.S. federal law, identity theft occurs when someone uses or attempts to use the sensitive personal information of another person to commit fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.. A wide range of sensitive personal information can be used to commit identity theft, including a person’s name, address, date of birth, Social Security number (SSN), driver’s license number, credit card and bank account numbers, phone numbers, and even biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans. Other countries have similar laws.

Essential Links:

  • FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit or to report fraud visit Identity Theft Complaint
  • FTC Complete Identity Theft Website:
  • Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
  • Identity Theft at

New & Existing Financial Accounts

The most common form of identity theft, and the main focus of this article, involves the fraudulent use of a victim’s personal information for financial gain.


  • Using the victim’s existing credit, bank, or other accounts
    • A victim of existing account misuse often can resolve problems directly with the financial institution, which will consider the victim’s prior relationship with the institution and the victim’s typical spending and payment patterns.
  • Opening new accounts in the victim’s name
    • A victim of new account identity theft usually has no preexisting relationship with the creditor to help prove the victim is not responsible for the debts.
    • The new account usually is reported to one or more credit reporting agencies (CRA), where it then appears on the victim’s credit report. Since the thief does not pay the bills, the account goes to collections and appears as a bad debt on the victim’s credit report. Often, the victim does not discover the existence of the account until it is in collection.
    • The victim must prove to the creditor that the victim is not responsible for the account and clear the bad debt information from the victims’ credit report.


The Goals for Victims

Before you begin all of this, you need to prepare yourself for what might happen. You may be lucky and nothing happens, but if it did or does you are going to spend a substantial amount of time working through it. You will have to learn a great amount of information, follow new and confusing processes, and be very careful in your record keeping. But eventually, just like with the scam itself, you will make it through the other side.

This Guide will help you assist a victim achieve three goals:

  1. Stopping or minimizing further fraud from occurring
  2. Proving that identity theft has occurred and that the victim is not responsible for debts incurred in her name and
  3. Correcting any errors on the victim’s credit report to restore their financial reputation and credit score

Step 1: Notify Your Bank And Credit Card Company

If a scammer was given your banking information or credit card information then they can use that information to steal from your account or illegally buy things on your credit card. A huge number of victims do this, and the products purchased with the stolen card numbers or banking information are sent to parcel mules or trans-shippers. If you gave the information away you must report this to the police or you could face liability for the use of your accounts and the purchases. This could lead to money launderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions., bank fraud, credit card fraudCard Fraud Card Fraud is one of the most commonly referenced fraud definitions. It occurs when a fraudster uses a card (debit or credit) to make a purchase without the authorization of the cardholder. Card fraud can occur in-person or through digital channels., or other charges.

Be very clear with your financial institutions. Tell them you were scammed and give them the police report number. (You got that in the SCARS 3 Steps that you read – remember?)

If you have not reported the scam to the police, do it right now! This is very serious and you must do it.

Step 2: Realize You Are Now Dealing With Possible Identity Theft

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number (SSN) or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In the case of scam victims, you may have given this information to your scammer.

Step 3: Your Tax Records Can Be Affected & May Be At Risk

How do you know if your tax records have been affected?

Usually, a scammer or an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. Generally, the identity thief will use a stolen SSN to file a forged tax return and attempt to get a fraudulent refund early in the filing season. Yes, scammers do this!

You may be unaware that this has happened until you file your tax return later in the filing season and discover that two returns have been filed using the same social security or tax identification.

Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRSIRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs. Visit to learn more. or TAX notice or letter that states that:

  • More than one tax return for you was filed,
  • You have a balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, or
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.

What to do if your tax records were affected by identity theft?

If you receive a notice from IRS or your TAX agency, respond immediately. If you believe someone may have used your SSN fraudulently, please notify IRS or your TAX agency immediately (after reporting the scam to your police) by responding to the name and number printed on the notice or letter. If you live in the U.S. you will need to fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.

For victims of identity theft who have previously been in contact with the IRS and have not achieved a resolution, please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free at 1-800-908-4490

How can you protect your tax records?

If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost/stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, etc., contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 or the equivalent in your country.

Learn more:

Step 4: Your Credit Files

Placing an Initial Fraud Alert

Placing an initial fraud alert on credit reports will reduce the risk that an identity thief will open new accounts in the victim’s name. An initial fraud alert stays on the victim’s credit file for 90 days, and can be renewed every 90 days. Identity theft victims can place an initial 90-day fraud alert by contacting one of the following three CRAs (Credit Reporting Agencies).

That CRA must, in turn, contact the other two CRAs on the victim’s behalf:

  • Experian
    1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
    P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • Transunion
    Fraud Victim Assistance Division
    P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Note: A CRA may request additional proof of identity to place the initial fraud alert, and it may ask you to answer challenge questions–information in her credit report that only the victim would be expected to know.

If you experienced new account identity theft, you should consider placing a credit freezeFreeze Trauma Freeze Response: While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense. on the credit report.

Getting Copies of Credit Reports

Once you HAVE placed an initial fraud alert on her credit report, the victim is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three CRAs. These free copies of credit reports are in addition to free copy all consumers have a right to each year.

After placing a fraud alert on the credit report, you should receive a confirmation letter from each CRA advising you on how to order a free credit report. Some CRAs may allow the victim to place the fraud alert online. If so, you may be able to order and view the credit report online immediately upon placing the fraud alert. If the victim does not receive a CRA’s confirmation letter, you should contact the CRA directly.

Note: When a victim places a fraud alert on a credit report, the CRA may offer to sell the victim products or services, such as credit monitoring or identity theft insurance. These are optional, and a victim never has to pay anything for a fraud alert or credit file freeze.

Later, when the victim calls the CRA to order the free credit report you are entitled to in conjunction with the fraud alert, the CRA may first direct the victim’s attention to ordering the victim’s free annual credit report, before explaining how you can order the one associated with the fraud alert. This can confuse victims and lead to ordering the free annual report rather than the credit report that is yours by right after placing a fraud alert. Just insist you want the credit report you are entitled to after placing the fraud alert.

Review The Credit Report Carefully

Victims should review their credit report for any accounts they did not open, debts they did not incur, and credit inquiries from companies they have not contacted. They should promptly contact any companies where their credit report indicates this has occurred – see the Recovery Guide below.

Step 5: Documenting the New Crime

You should immediately have filed a police report about the scam, but now you have to consider reporting Identity Theft if you find that your financial information has been used.

Reporting To The Federal Trade Commission

If you have experienced new account identity theft, the next phase in your recovery will be to document this crime. Such documentation will be necessary to prove to a creditor that you are
not responsible for the fraudulent new account or to exercise certain legal rights, such as clearing fraudulent accounts from your credit report and prohibiting creditors from selling the fraudulent debts. Specifically, you may need an “Identity Theft Affidavit” or an Identity Theft Report.

Below are steps you can take to prepare for obtaining these documents.

File a Complaint with the FTC

  • The first step in documenting identity theft is to file a complaint with the FTC. You can file a complaint online at
  • Before filing the complaint, the victim should gather as much information as possible about the details of the identity theft crime. This would include a credit report from at least one of the three major CRAs, any collection letters or bills you received for accounts you did not open or charges you did not authorize, and any credit cards or other items you received, but had not ordered.
  • The complaint asks for the following information:
    • the victim’s full name, any other or previously used names
    • current and/or recent address and the address at the time the crime occurred, if different from the current address
    • Social Security number
    • date of birth
    • what the victim knows about who committed the crime or how her information was stolen
    • what the victim knows about the fraudulent transactions, including institution names, types of account or transactions involved, account numbers, dates the accounts were opened or misused, and dollar amounts related to the fraudulent activity
    • whether the victim has been able to obtain a police report, and if so, the details. Note: It is important to note that victims are not required to file a written complaint with the
      FTC to pursue their legal rights to remedy identity theft. Victims who do not want to provide their personal information can file their complaints with the FTC anonymously.
  • Victims also have the option of filing a complaint by phone or mail, but will not receive a printed copy:
    • BY PHONE – FTC Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-Theft (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261
    • BY MAIL – Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580

The FTC does not investigate or prosecute individual identity theft cases. The FTC enters the complaints into its Consumer Sentinel Network and makes them available to enforcement agencies throughout the country for their investigations. The complaints also help the FTC identify general trends in identity theft and violations of the FCRA.

Prepare an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit

Next, you should prepare an Identity Theft Affidavit, which many creditors accept to dispute fraudulent new accounts. It also will assist you in preparing an Identity Theft Report, as explained below.

By completing the FTC complaint online, you will be then able to print a copy of the Affidavit, with most of the information filled in automatically. Specifically, after you have completed the online complaint’s guided interview process and have hit the “Submit” button, a page will appear that will provide a link to print the Affidavit for saving or printing. Alternatively, victims can print a
blank copy of the Identity Theft Affidavit. The Affidavit contains a blockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• for notarization or a witness signature.

You may wish to fill in the Identity Theft Affidavit form by hand as well to prepare and review the facts before doing it online.

Back To File Another Local Police Report

The next step in documenting identity theft is to obtain an “Identity Theft Report,” which will
enable the victim to:

  • Take advantage of certain rights provided under the FCRA law in the U.S.
  • Obtain a company’s business records related to its transactions with the identity thief

An Identity Theft Report is a police report that contains information specific enough for a CRA or creditor to determine the legitimacy of the identity theft claims. This usually is more detailed than a typical police report and best accomplished by filing a local police report and attaching or incorporating the information from the Identity Theft Affidavit.

You should bring a copy of the FTC ID Theft Affidavit, as well as documentation supporting the proof of identity and evidence of the crime. The goal is to get a copy of a police report (and a NEW report Number) that incorporates as much detail as possible about the facts of the crime. You can request that the police attach or incorporate the Identity Theft Affidavit to the department’s
basic police report form. There are signature blocks on the Affidavit for the victim and the officer.

If you have filed the original scam Police Report, they may choose to expand the report, but it is advisable to create a new report referencing the other one.

If possible, you should file the Identity Theft report with the local police in person. Police sometimes are reluctant to provide victims with a police report. Although some states require police to
write reports for identity theft crimes, in other jurisdictions, the officials may feel that they have higher priority matters to handle, or may not understand the importance of the police report in
victim recovery. If you have difficulty obtaining a police report, tell them that you must have it for needed benefits or your insurance.

Once you obtain an Identity Theft Report, you will be able to prevent most further harm (as in liability) and restore her financial reputation.

Step 6: Your Recovery Plan

Identity Theft Is A Nasty Experience, And Cannot Be Ignored Once You See That It Has Happened

Once you see proof of the Identity Theft, recovery is going to be a challenge, but the following Guide from the FTC explains it all in detail.



We have published the latest information on this subject but you should also visit the FTC’s website for the most up to date information:



TAGS: SCARS, Scammer Identity Theft. Personal Identity Theft, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims,

SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit to learn more about SCARS. Inc.
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It is essential that law enforcement knows about scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.

Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
  3. Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. « »
  4. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network on « »

This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.

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