What to do and what to tell your bank if you have been scammed

How likely would you be to get your money back if you discovered you had been scammed? It could depend on how the money left your account.

Tuesday, 8th August 2017, 2:16 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:58 pm
What are the rules protecting people from fraud?

:: What are the rules protecting people from fraud?

Here are consumers' rights when it comes to different payment methods according to consumer group Which?:

Cheques - If a cheque is forged, the bank should not honour it. If the bank does pay out, you should be able to recover your money from them. If you have paid a scammer by cheque, there may be time to stop the payment, as generally clearing a cheque can a few days.

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Credit cards - If you have paid a scammer using your credit card, you should be protected under the Consumer Credit Act, allowing you to get your money back for transactions between £100 and £30,000.

Debit cards - If you pay a scammer by a debit card you may be able to claim your money back through the voluntary chargeback scheme with your bank.

Direct debits - If a payment is made to a scammer through an authorised direct debit payment, you are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee, meaning you could challenge and the payment to have it reversed.

:: What about bank transfers?

There is a difference between unauthorised transfers and authorised transfers.

Unauthorised transfers happen when a scammer accesses their account without their knowledge and drains cash out.

Authorised transfers happen when the scammer tricks their victim into transferring money themselves directly to the scammer.

Last year, Which? made a "super-complaint" about banks not shouldering enough responsibility when people are tricked into making an authorised bank transfer, saying people have a better chance of getting their money back when they fall victim to fraud in other ways.

Responding, the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) said the industry should do more - but it stopped short of proposing changes to make banks liable for reimbursing victims of such scams.

:: What if I transfer money to a wrong bank account simply by mistake, for example by typing the wrong digits?

You should tell your bank or building society straight away. They may be able to claw the money back, but this does not guarantee you will get your money back.

:: What scams should I look out for?

Common hallmarks of a scam include unsolicited emails, "too good to be true" offers, being asked to share personal details, being put under pressure to act quickly, correspondence with spelling mistakes and vague contact details and being asked to keep something quiet, according to Which?.

:: What should I do if I think I have been the victim of a scam?

Tell your bank, building society, card company or whoever your firm is immediately. Fraud and cyber crime can be reported to Action Fraud - the UK's national reporting centre - www.actionfraud.police.uk.

:: What if I am not happy with the way my financial firm has dealt with the issue?

If you cannot come to an agreement after the firm has had a chance to sort it out, you can ask the free Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to step in - www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.