Where to turn – I have been a victim of fraud, am I going to get my money back?

Bank account

  • If money has been stolen from your bank account, or your debit or credit card has been used fraudulently by someone else, in most cases, you should be able to get that money back.
  • If the money stolen is your own (ie from your own account), then the relevant piece of legislation is the Payment Services Regulations. These say that you must be refunded immediately if you are a victim of fraud. 
  • If the bank has reasonable grounds to think you may have been grossly negligent with the security of your account or tried to commit fraud yourself, it can delay refunding for a short time while it investigates. Unless the bank can prove you are liable it must both refund the money and put your account back in the state it would have been if the money had not been taken. This means that any interest or charges you have paid because of the fraud must also be refunded. If the bank can show that you were careless with your card and PIN or password, you will be liable for a maximum of £50, although many banks and building societies will waive this.
  • You won’t be liable for any losses once you have reported that your card has been stolen or if you think that someone else may have got hold of the security details of your account.  It is very important that you tell your bank or building society as soon as you think this may have happened.

Credit cards

  • If the money stolen is on credit, both the Payment Services Regulations and the Consumer Credit Act apply. This legislation states that with any unauthorised transactions the cardholder may be held liable for the first £50 spent if a card is lost or stolen. Again many banks and building societies will waive this.
  • Once the theft has been reported to the card provider, the cardholder is not liable for any further money spent.
  • In reality your bank or credit card provider may not charge you for any money spent by fraudsters, unless it can prove you have been negligent.
  • Report any lost or stolen cards or unauthorised transactions to your card provider as soon as you spot them.
  • Your bank may reject your claim for a refund if it believes it can prove that you have been grossly negligent or acted fraudulently. This does not have to be the end of the matter though – you can complain to the bank, and then if you’re not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with, you can then take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Goods not received / fake goods paid for on credit card

  • If you’ve spent over £100 and up to £30,000 on a credit card, the Consumer Credit Act means you should be able to claim that money back as your credit card issuer is jointly liable with whoever you’re paying if something goes wrong.
  • Contact your credit card provider as soon as you realise you’ve been scammed.
  • Some scammers are now taking advantage of this protection by setting up fake websites selling tickets to major sporting events or concerts. Once they have your money, they will say there has been “a problem with a supplier” or similar and tell you to claim the money back from your credit card provider.


  • When you pay with PayPal on any website, if your purchase doesn’t arrive or match its description then Paypal will help you get all your money back.


  • If you used a debit card, you may be able to ask your bank to get your money back through the chargeback scheme.
  • Chargeback allows you to ask your card provider to reverse a transaction if there’s a problem with something you have bought on your credit or debit card.
  • Chargeback is not enforced legally but is part of Scheme Rules, which participating banks subscribe to.
  • It applies to all debit card transactions for goods costing less that £100, although exact rules may vary between the Visa, Maestro and American Express networks.
  • But, there are no guarantees your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback

Some bad news though……

Cash payments

  • Unfortunately, if you’re a victim of a scam involving handing over cash, you may not get your money back
  • If you buy products or services (including event tickets or make a donation to a fake charity etc) and use cash then you are unlikely to get your money back
  • If you respond to an email from fraudsters and send over money there is also no mechanism to get the money back as it is deemed to be a transaction YOU authorised

Where do I report fraud / scam?

  • If you have been a victim of fraud, there is a network of support and information available to you.  Sometimes people choose not to report fraud or seek advice because they are embarrassed that they fell for a scam but it is important that you ALWAYS report them to try and stop them happening again
  • As the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud should be your first point of contact if you have been a victim of fraud.  You can report the fraud online with their online reporting tool or call them in 0300 123 2040
  • Action Fraud passes on all fraud cases to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which is overseen by the City of London Police who deal with all cases of fraud in the UK.
  • Making a crime report to Action Fraud means that you will receive a police crime reference numberYou can use your police crime reference number to update the information in your crime report, if you need to at a later date.
  • When you report a fraud to Action Fraud, you are given the option for your contact details to be passed on to Victim Support, a national charity that helps those affected by crime. If you take up this option, you will then be contacted by someone from the charity and offered free and confidential emotional support and practical help.

Bank accounts and credit cards

  • If debit or credit cards, online banking or cheques are involved, your first step should be to contact your bank or credit card company

Telephone or mobile fraud

  • If you have been the victim of a mobile phone or telephone fraud then tell your mobile provider immediately and inform PhonepayPlus (www.phonepayplus.org.uk), which regulates premium numbers and has statutory powers to stop mobile phone frauds and fine the offenders

Investment fraud

  • If you have been a victim of an investment or pensions scam there is a strong chance that you’ll be targeted again by companies offering to recover your stolen cash.  You should report this scam to the Financial Conduct Authority by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768

Leave a comment