What to Do When You Get Scammed Online.

What to Do When You Get Scammed Online

The internet offers unlimited opportunity and the most expansive marketplace the world has ever known. Unfortunately, the internet has given scammers the power to steal on a scale unimaginable just a decade ago. If you let them, scammers will try to sell you a worthless pig in a poke or trick you into revealing personal information, your bank account or credit card data.

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If You Are Scammed Online.

If you are scammed online, the first thing you must do is stop payment if possible.

If you paid by personal check, call your bank and cancel the check the instant you realize you were scammed. You have to be quick to stop payment because the scammers know they are against the clock and will usually get your money and run immediately after getting paid.

Dispute the Charges!

Dispute the charges with your credit card company if you paid by credit card. If someone makes an unauthorized charge to your account, Federal law stops your liability for the charge at $50. Fortunately, most credit card companies usually remove the charges completely if you report the scam immediately.

Reporting the scam to your credit card company will prevent the scammers from using your card for other purchases or stealing your identity.

If you paid with a U.S. Postal Service Money Order, report the scam to the Post Office immediately. Using the postal service for fraud is a serious offense. You can bet the Post Office will investigate.

Can I Get My Money Back If I Have Been Scammed?

Probably not. Scammers figure all this out before they scam you. However, it might be possible to get your money back, but ask yourself, is it worth the emotional stress, time and energy? If it isn’t worth the hassle, then move on and learn from the experience.

Did You Pay with PayPal?

If you used PayPal when you were scammed, contest the charges with PayPal. If the product or service you purchased was not delivered, you might have a good case for a refund. PayPal usually does not refund for digital products.

Did You Buy Through ClickBank?

ClickBank has a 60-day money back guarantee. If you purchased through ClickBank and suspect you were scammed, or you are unhappy with what you paid for, ClickBank will refund your money if you contact them within 60 days of your purchase.

Contact ClickBank customer service directly and ask for a refund. If you contact the person you bought from, they’ll probably just try to stall you until the 60 days has passed. Then you’ll be out of luck.

Tell Your Local Law Enforcement Agency.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If you have been scammed online, or if someone has tried to scam you online, it is essential that your local law enforcement agency knows about it. Online scams are a crime. Law enforcement is continually monitoring and investigating online fraud. Your experience can help them bust online scammers.

Report the Scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

In the United States, Internet crime is investigated by the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and on the state level by the Attorney General of each state. All of these agencies are organized and interlinked through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). To file a complaint with the IC3 go to https://www.ic3.gov.

Report the Scam to ScamAvenger.com

Tell us about your experience. We’ll investigate and write about what we find. While this may not get your money back, it will expose the scam and, hopefully, prevent the scammer from getting anyone else’s money. Go here to report a scam.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed Online.

Read How to Make Money Online and Never Get Scammed.


Pay with a credit card when possible. Credit cards are the safest way to pay online. If you get scammed, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company. Most credit card companies are highly sensitive to online fraud.

Do not participate in online contests or surveys that require you to give more than your email address. Scammers often pose as legitimate research companies or survey companies to get your personal information and credit card date. It’s best to avoid them all.

Only trust familiar websites and take the time to check with the Better Business Bureau before doing business with a new website. Get a physical address and a phone number. Call the phone number to be sure the business is real.

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Listen to the warnings your security software is giving you. If McAfee or Norton warns you about a website, it’s for a good reason. These software companies keep an updated and ever growing database on fraudulent websites.

Never respond to emails from an unknown sender. If you respond to such emails, it proves to the scammer who sent it that your email address is an active, working email address and they will try again or sell your email address to other scammers. Delete all suspicious emails without opening them.

Before purchasing a product or service, be sure you understand the offer and all your questions have been answered. Don’t blame yourself for not understanding the offer. Scammers use confusion to their advantage. A legitimate business will take the time to be sure you understand the offer. If the offer confuses you, assume it’s a scam.

If you are pressured to buy quickly, it’s probably a scam.

Be sure you understand the total price, when to expect delivery, their policy for refunds or cancellation and the full extent of the warranty.

Only do business online with reputable companies. Protect your personal information. Do not give out your social security number. No business needs to know that.

Keep your greed in check. Scammers often try to stimulate your sense of greed when they are selling make-money-online schemes. Don’t fall for it. If someone promises you can make easy money, get a loan or a credit card with bad credit or make money without work or an investment, it’s a scam.

Additional Resources for What to Do When You Get Scammed.

If you found this article helpful or have been scammed, please leave a comment below.

26 thoughts on “What to Do When You Get Scammed Online.

  1. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for this article. It’s so timely. You’re really of great help to many people like me (neophyte in the internet world). Keep up the good works. Keep on keeping on. May GBY always.

  2. I think it’s just awful that it’s so easy to get scammed online. I have been scammed myself, and the way it makes you feel is just horrible. That these people can actually just get away with it is so wrong.

    I also have used clickbank, and i too have found that they are really reliable and returning money if you are not happy, no questions asked.

    Some great tips here. Bookmarked!

    1. Hi, RuthM!

      I appreciate your comment. It does hurt when you get scammed. I remember not being able to sleep after I’d been scammed out of a $100 and I know there are people who have lost a lot more.

      If an online business doesn’t offer a free trial, it’s better to pass them by. Fortunately, the internet continues to evolve and legitimate online businesses know they must prove they can be trusted. If a business is not transparent there is a reason and it’s not good.

      Thanks for bookmarking my page.

      All the best,


  3. Thank you about this informative article about online scam. I find it benefical about people doing transaction online. I loved it more about the information that MaCafe and Norton warn us about fake site which sometimes we just go aganist. Thanks Jonathan

    1. Hi, Jonathan!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m pleased you found my article helpful.

      Unfortunately, McAffee and Norton usually just worn us if the site has malware and not if it’s a scam.

      All the best,

  4. Thank you very much for the excellent information about what to do when you get scammed.
    It is very informative and easy to follow. I am not a USA resident, but can still make use of the information you provide.
    I am definitely going to bookmark your website for future reference.
    This saves me time searching for good advice on what to do when you get scammed.


    1. Hi, Rika!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m pleased my article about what to do when you get scammed online was helpful.

      Unfortunately, once someone has lost money online it’s difficult to get it back.

      All the best,


  5. Once the scumbags have your money its’ all over. I take it as a learning experience and just ensure never to repeat the same mistake again. Luckily, I’ve never fallen for any of those scams and while I feel a lot of people don’t, some people see those “you won a free ipad” and just don’t have the knowledge that it’s a trap.

    Scammers also have conversion rates. It’s a numbers game to them and if they ever get any significant amount of traffic some people are going to fall victim.

    1. Hi, Darren!

      Afraid you’re right, once the scumbags have your money it is all over. It can be a hard and painful lesson. I think the scumbags outnumber the good guys ten to one.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  6. I have to say this is the single most practical article I’ve seen about scams. There are plenty of websites out there that offer information about scams, but this is the first ever time I have come across what to actually do if you do get scammed. I wish I knew all of this about 10 years ago, when I got scammed online by the promise of something which was going to make me rich. What a big fat lie that was! I have saved this for future reference in case I ever need it – thank you so much.

    1. Hi, Mara!

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry you were scammed. That hurts. I hope it never happens to you again.

      Thanks for your kind words too. I’m pleased you found my article helpful.

      All the best,


  7. The one thing you said is what I find alerts me right off the bat. That is if they pressure you to buy right then, it’s usually a scam. If they need money up front, with no free trial period, probably no good. I have been taken so many times. You finally get fed up and then you end up not trusting anyone. I think you are right, reporting these is a great way to work at getting them shut down.

    1. Hi, Matt’s Mom!

      I had to learn not to be pressured into a sale, the hard way. I grew up in a church-centered farming community where you could trust just about anyone. We left our houses unlocked and the keys in our car. I miss those days.

      Naturally, coming from that environment, I thought I could trust everyone in the big bad world. I got chewed up and spit out more than once and have the scars on my backside to prove it.

      Sadly, I think we can’t trust most people, especially online. And double-especially when someone online is making an offer that will cost money. That’s when we must demand they prove to us they can be trusted. Like you, if I can’t try an offer for free, I pass.

      All the best,


  8. That’s a very good article on what to do if you get scammed online. There are lots of articles on scams to avoid, but not a whole lot about what to do if you are scammed so thanks for posting this. I love how you posted what to if you paid a certain way such as through a credit card or through PayPal. This is such helpful information and everyone should have this information on what to do if they ever get scammed. Excellent stuff!

  9. Great tips Gary. I appreciate that you raise awareness of online scams, how to avoid them and what to do if one gets scammed.

    No one respects scammers because they are stealing money from people. Still, some of the scammers have become millionaires after stealing from thousands of people. However, they will have their judgment after death. Very important thing is to live honestly to remain a pure conscience.

    1. Hi, Roope!

      Thanks for pointing out how important it is to live honestly with a pure conscience. At the end of the day, it is essential that we enjoy our existence. For me, peace of mind is the highest priority. Some days, I get it right and some days I don’t.

      It’s difficult for me to understand what goes on inside a scammer’s head and why he or she does what they do. I can only imagine that no matter how much they have, it will never be enough. I wonder if they are constantly in a panic because they can’t get enough. Or, maybe they are just soulless pricks.

      I do know, the business model of scams is a leaking ship that needs constant work to keep it afloat. On the other hand, a legitimate online business that helps people and provides value will float by its very nature.

      All the best,


  10. Hi Gary! This is such a great post! I am constantly reading about new services, training, systems- whatever, and have learned to research thoroughly before going any further, but I have not ran into a resource as good as yours about what to do if you make a mistake and get scammed. Thanks so much for this information.

    1. Hi, John!

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment and kind words. I’m so glad I can help.

      All the best,

  11. Hi Gary!
    I left a comment on your site. I think this post is great! I appreciate the comprehensive information, how you break it down and the good, solid advice. I am better at identifying and researching scams online than I used to be. This post is the best resource I have seen that explains what to do if you do get caught up in a scam.
    Many thanks!

  12. I read through your article about online scam and found it quite interesting. It is amazing with all the information out there about scamming and how to take precautions, and safe guarding information people still fall for these scams on a daily basis.
    I will definitely have to check out the scamavenger site and pass this along to other people to make them aware of their options.

    1. Hi, Angela!

      Thanks for visiting. I appreciate that you took the time to comment.

      It seems the internet has given scammers superpowers. At the same time, decent people can’t imagine anyone can be so deceitful.

      I hope my article does save people, but I wish the search engines would filter the scammers out so they can’t be found.

      All the best,


        1. Hi, Bernadette!

          If you are in the United States, contact your state’s Attorney General. I hope you get this resolved in your favor.


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