If you have been scammed, there are three key things to do
1. Take steps to get your money back if possible
2. If you have lost a significant amount of money or something valuable then contact the Police
3. Take steps to protect yourself against further scams
A. How to Get Your Money Back
What you do depends on how the money was taken from you.
1 Credit Card
If you've paid for goods or services with a credit card, then your card supplier may cover the loss for you and may chase the scammer to recover the money for themselves. This is covered in section 75 of the Consumer Protection Act but only applies where the loss is greater than £100 and less than £30,000
2 Debit Card
If you used a debit card, you can ask your bank to get your money back through the Chargeback scheme.
This is not covered by consumer law but most banks use the scheme and it applies to all debit card transactions including goods costing less that £100.
3 Bank Transfer
If you've been caught out by a complex and convincing scam which has resulted in you transferring your money into another bank account than you should contact your bank immediately. The bank can try to recover the funds
If your bank refuses to offer you a refund, or only offers a partial refund, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman. You should tell your back that you are doing this.
You could also have grounds to complain to the bank if you believe their actions have contributed to the success of the scam or if they have failed to recover your money.
4. Money Transfer by Western Union or Moneycorp
If you have sent the scammer money via Western Union or Moneycorp or similar organisation then this is effectively the same as a cash transaction and you wont get the money back.
5. eBay or Paypal or Similar Retail Organisation
If you bought the goods from a reputable online retailer then they have dispute resolution procedures whereby you may get your money back.
B. How to Report a Scam
If you have lost a lot of money in the scam, then tell the Police (do not phone 999 though – use a number for your local Police station or their national reporting line)
There is also a website called Action Fraud (www. Actionfraud.police.uk ) where you can report the scam but they don’t normally take action on your behalf – they collect data on scams to help with building cases against large scale scammers. They pass the data along to the relevant Police Force when there is enough information for a campaign.
If the scam relates to products that are defective or do not their description then tell your local Trading Standards office.
C. How to Protect Yourself Against Further Scams
a. Do not believe anything that seems too good to be true.
b. Never buy anything from a cold caller or give them personal information.
c. If you are going to buy from a person or company that you haven’t dealt with before and isn’t a household name then do check they are legitimate (check reviews online, ask friends, check how long the company has existed for, query the company)
d. Use common sense and don’t take needless risks