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It’s more common than you think to fall victim to a scam. However, there are things you can do to try and get your money back and to help protect yourself in the future. Here we cover what to do if you’ve been scammed online.

What to do if you’ve been scammed online

Whether it’s goods arriving and they’re not what you thought they’d be, or you’ve handed over your money and not received any goods, there are plenty of scams out there.

Some of the more common scams include phishing. This is where you’re contacted by someone pretending to be from HMRC, your bank, PayPal or Amazon.

Find out more about common scams here.

If you’ve been scammed, the first thing you need to do is to inform your bank. With Vox Money, your card can easily be frozen within our mobile banking app or online.

Ways to get your money back

If you’ve handed over money to a scammer, there are ways you can try and get your money back. Here’s what to do when a website scams you.

Scams involving a debit card or prepaid card

If you paid for goods using a debit card or a prepaid card, you should speak to your bank to see if they offer a chargeback scheme. However, bear in mind that not all banks offer chargebacks, and they aren’t a legal requirement. They also only apply to debit card, prepaid or credit card transactions for goods that cost less than £100.

You should check with your bank for their specific T&Cs regarding chargebacks.

Scams involving a credit card

Credit cards offer more security for you should you fall victim to a scam. This is because they are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act only applies to products more than £100 and no more than £30,000. For any scams involving less than £100, you would need to contact your bank about their chargeback scheme.

Transferring money to a scammers’ account

If you’ve transferred money into a scammer’s bank account, you should notify your bank immediately. If you act quickly, your bank may be able to stop the transactions from leaving your account or take back the funds.

PayPal and eBay scams

If payment has been taken through PayPal but you haven’t received an item, you should start by raising the issue with the seller via the resolution centre. However, if it’s unable to be resolved, then you should open a claim with PayPal.

Luckily, PayPal offers Buyer Protection meaning you can lodge a claim after 20 days of opening a dispute with the seller. Similarly, if you’ve been scammed through eBay, it offers a Money Back Guarantee for transactions made through its website and using PayPal.

You should take extra care with PayPal, as many scammers will use an email that looks like the PayPal website. However, it could result in you handing over your account details directly to the scammer. In these cases, unfortunately, you would not be protected under PayPal’s Buyer Protection, so always make additional checks that a link you’ve been sent is real.

Unauthorised payments or transactions

An example of an unauthorised payment includes a different amount being taken for a purchase, or someone else using your card. You can claim to your bank for the amount to be refunded under the Payment Services Regulations 2009.

Gift card scams

Scammers can also target gift cards as it’s more difficult to claim the money back. However, if your gift card has been used by a scammer, you should contact the retailer or company who the gift card belongs to. Often they will offer a refund of the money. Make sure you keep hold of the gift card and its receipt for proof of purchase.

Wire transfer scams

If you have fallen victim to a fraudulent transaction through a wire transfer company, such as Western Union or MoneyGram, contact them. They will be able to reverse the transfer and refund your money.

Report the scam to Action Fraud

You should always report scams to Action Fraud to help stop other people from becoming victims of scams too. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and works with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate scams.

When you report a scam to Action Fraud, they’ll give you a crime reference number, which you can use when notifying your bank about a scam.

If you see any online advertising of scams, you can report these either to the platform themselves, such as Facebook, but also to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

For any scams relating to financial services such as investments or pensions, contact the Financial Conduct Authority.

Reporting phishing scams

If you’ve received an email that is purporting to be someone else or misrepresenting an official company, send the email to [email protected]. It will then be handled by the National Cyber Security Centre.

You should also let the real company know that someone is purporting to be them. This way they can inform their customers should they also receive a similar phishing email.

How to protect yourself from scams

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a future victim of a scam.

For emails, you should always check the sender details. While the sender name in the ‘from’ field may look official, the email address may be a giveaway.

On a website, always look out for the ‘padlock’ icon into the left of the URL bar. This means a website is secure whereas a scam website will not contain this.

We’ve got some more tips on how you can spot a scam here.

Lastly, make sure all your accounts have strong passwords. Use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and don’t use common words or names.

If you’re a Vox Money customer and think you’ve been the victim of a scam or fraudulent activity, you should contact our Customer Service team immediately on 0203 503 0307. Our Customer Services line is open 24/7 to assist you.

Like the sound of an account that puts you in complete control, including the option to freeze and unfreeze your card from your mobile app or online? Sign up today.

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