What to Do If You Have Been Scammed

 First, as a general rule for dealings on the Internet, keep copies of
EVERYTHING- emails, PayPal receipts, money order stubs, everything!
Second, be aware that steps 1 and 2 can involve a lot of back and forth
between them, depending on the method of payment.

Inform the Financial Institutions and websites involved

 If you paid by money order place a complaint AND a trace on the money
order with the company that sold it (western union, USPS, etc.). Make sure it
was cashed. Find out WHERE it was cashed. The same goes for a check,
whether issued by a bank or a personal check.

 If you paid by PayPal, go to the PayPal website at www.paypal.com and look
for the complaint process. PayPal Buyer Complaint Info Page.
Next, Review the Buyer Complaint Process and fill out a "Buyer Complaint
Form" through the Security Center. If you are logged in on the PayPal site, it
may take you to a different site than these links. You must be logged in to fill
out the form.

 If it was on eBay or another auction site, look for the "Safe Harbor" clause or
provisions in the user agreement. Try the "help" icons and search for "fraud"
or "safe harbor" in the FAQs or Help sections.

 Your bank or credit card can also be a powerful ally. While not necessarily
bound to help you if you used PayPal, most of the time the fraud protection
issued by your credit card company can help get to the root of a problem.
Remember, you credit card can even file a complaint with PayPal if PayPal
won't do anything to help you, because, as far as the credit card is
concerned, PayPal took your money. They don't care what PayPal did with it,
they just know that it was PayPal that billed you. Your bank can do the same.
Your bank will be more likely to give you personal service, but your credit
card company has more clout. Use both to your advantage.

Inform the Authorities

 If you sent payment in any form, whether check, Money Order (Postal or
other), cashier’s check, or cash (NEVER SEND CASH!!!) through the mail,
file a complaint at your local post office.

 It is a federal crime (mail fraud), so they should know the drill. Get the
manager of your local post office to give you the name of the post office that
is local to the recipient (where HIS/HER mail gets routed through prior to
delivery). Here is a link to the USPS Postal Inspectors' website: USPS Fraud
Protection Website.

 Call the endpoint post office and file a claim. Call the local police or sheriffs
office and file a criminal complaint using the information from the postal
complaint form. Local police numbers can be found through most Internet
directories. Most of the time, the post office can even give you that
information. If not, your local police can do so.

 Please be aware that sometimes nothing can be done or these actions
may not immediately result in you getting your money back. For smaller
loses such claims are processed and filed to build a 'case report' against
the scammer. Once there are enough claims filed, then the proper
authorities such as the FTC can take action. This may take years to happen,
but every complaint counts so if you have been scammed speak up.

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