How to get your money back after a scam

Here’s what you can try and do to recover your money if you have lost out to a scam.

How Did You Pay?

How you go about getting your money back, and how successful you’re likely to be, will depend on how the money was paid.

Debit Card

If you used a debit card, you may be able to ask your bank to get your money back through the chargeback scheme.

Chargeback is not enshrined in law but is part of Scheme Rules, which participating banks subscribe to.

It applies to all debit card transactions including goods costing less than £100, although exact rules may vary between the American Express, Maestro and Visa networks.

But, there are no guarantees your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback.

Chargeback also applies to credit card transactions but will be particularly useful where goods cost less than £100 and so section 75 doesn’t apply.

Bank Transfer

A bank transfer scam, also known as an authorised push payment (APP) scam, occurs when you – knowingly or unwittingly – transfer money from your own bank account to one belonging to a scammer.

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.

Tell the bank what happened, and let them know the bank account number your money was sent to.

The bank can try and recover the funds once they are notified.

Credit Card

If you’ve paid for goods or services with a credit or debit card, you have greater protection if things go wrong under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or by using chargeback.

But whether you can make a claim or not depends on the type of scam you have fallen for.

An example of a scam where you could use section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or chargeback would be a scam where you paid for goods or services and it turns out these were either never available or the ‘seller’ has disappeared.

Credit cards have the greatest protection, as you can make a claim against your card provider under section 75.Under section 75, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company.

For section 75 to apply the item or service you bought must have cost more than £100 and not more than £30,000.


Order not delivered

If the scammer has taken payment for an item through PayPal and then hasn’t sent, you should be covered by PayPal Buyer Protection. But there are some exceptions and time limits on lodging a claim.

In some cases scammers set up convincing looking PayPal payment forms which actually just gather your bank details. In this case, you have no protection under the PayPal Buyer Protection Scheme.

Fake PayPal payment page

This is because PayPal aren’t part of the transaction; the scammer has just used their branding without their knowledge to make fraudulent activity look legitimate.

Seller protection

Where a scammer pays through PayPal, takes delivery of the order, and then claims that they didn’t receive it and makes a claim through PayPal Buyer Protection or section 75.

If you’re caught by this scam you’ll probably want to make a claim under PayPal Seller Protection.

But this has conditions and requirements – particularly around the delivery address that’s used and the seller having proof of delivery.

As long as you’ve met all of the criteria you should be protected.

In some instances the scammer will be aware of these rules and will specify a different delivery address or collect in person.

In this case you won’t be covered by seller protection because you’ve not met the condition of posting the item to the account holder’s registered address.


Unfortunately, you might not be able to get your money back if you’ve been scammed out of your cash.

This is also the case for wire payment services such as MoneyGram and Western Union.

Report the fraud to the police and trading standards to see if they can take any action.

Talking to others about what’s happened, and hearing about the experiences of others who have been through the same experience can help. You can get in touch with support groups through charities like Citizen’s Advice, Victim Support and Age UK.

Money transfer wire service

Unfortunately, you can’t always get your money back if you’ve been scammed, especially if you’ve handed over cash or you’ve paid via a wire service such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.

All of these services provide advice on how to avoid fraud and scams, so it’s a good idea to read their advice to safeguard yourself against future scams of this kind.

I didn’t authorize the payment

If there is a transaction on your card you know nothing about, then you can make a claim from your bank as an unauthorised transaction.

If you hand over your card to have a particular amount debited from it, and then you find more money has been taken without your permission, or a sum has been taken by someone else, you can make a claim for this extra amount.

The Payment Services Regulations and the Banking Conduct of Business rules place obligations on banks and building societies to provide a refund in these circumstances.

Make sure you report the unauthorised transaction as soon as you become aware of it.

Emotional Support After A Scam

Being scammed can take a huge toll on your mental health. You might find it helpful to talk to someone about what you’re going through. It’s not your fault, and there are plenty of non-judgemental advice lines you can call who will understand.

Victim Support

Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on +1 (662) 205 5432 (lines open 9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday).


Victim Support has a free helpline where you can speak to someone confidentially available on +1 (662) 205 5432 (lines open 24/7).

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