4 Steps to Follow After Falling Victim to Fraud 

In the News
Print

From contactless credit card uses to calls from abroad and fake bank representatives, countless fraud schemes exist. If you’ve fallen for one of them and aren’t sure what to do, here are the main steps you should know and prepare for.

There is fraud when someone takes money from you through lies or deceit. For example, someone close to you may use your bank credentials to carry out transactions without your knowledge. Or someone could contact you and claim to work for a bank in order to trick you into giving them money.

In some situations, fraud victims may not discover the scheme until much later, but it’s never too late to contact the authorities and take steps to participate in the legal proceedings.

Collecting evidence of fraud

The first thing you can do is to try documenting the fraud. For example, authorities may ask you for a copy of the fraudulent credit card or account statements, or any written evidence in text messages or e-mails.

Consider drafting a document in which you explain what you’ve been told and what you’ve done. This document can be used as an important memory aid. Every detail can be useful to the investigation.

Filing a complaint with the police

Many people feel guilty about being victims of fraud. The police are trained to listen to victims and ask the right questions.

Once a complaint has been filed, the police will take over the case and investigate to get to the bottom of the matter. It’s not up to you to do all the work. The police can:

  • collect evidence with the bank,
  • collect receipts from the retailer,
  • contact the relevant institutions to monitor transactions.

Preparing your court testimony

If the person who defrauded you is accused of a crime, you may have to testify. It’s normal to be nervous about going to court, but the goal is to get to the bottom of what happened in a safe and respectful manner.

People who testify are evaluated on the accuracy of their recollections and their credibility. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be frank and say so. Look at the judge when you give your explanation.

Following your testimony, you may leave the courtroom or stay for the remainder of the trial. You can be entitled to financial compensation for your travel expenses if you went to court to testify.

Attending the sentencing hearing

Once the person is found guilty, the judge must decide on an appropriate sentence. You may be called upon one last time. This time, you won’t have to talk about what happened, but rather about the consequences you experienced as a result of the fraud.

Government programs such as the Fonds d’aide aux victimes d’actes criminels (the relief fund for victims of criminal acts or “FAVAC”) can assist you throughout this process.