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What to do if you’re caught out by a scammer

If you’re the victim of a scam, it’s important to report it. There’s no need to feel embarrassed; by speaking up you may stop others being caught out.
3 min read
In this article
1. Report it 2. Talk about it 3. See if you can get your money back

1. Report it


Scams are a criminal offence under the Fraud Act and you should report them. It’s estimated that 95% of scam victims don’t report what’s happened to them. Some scam victims feel embarrassed or guilty, but there’s really no need to. The scammer is 100% to blame, not the victim.


The only way to stop scammers, and prevent them doing it again, is to report them. Contact you bank or building society to report any loss of money and also report cases to Action Fraud. 


Action Fraud

UK’s National Fraud reporting centre, monitoring and investigating cases of fraud. If you’ve been scammed or conned, let them know.


Report fraud by speaking directly to specialist fraud advisers. They will also be able to give you help and advice about fraud.

0300 123 2040

Mon–Fri, 8am–8pm


The information you give will help the authorities to take action, and could save others from falling victim to the same scam.


2. Talk about it


Being a victim of a scam could leave you feeling upset, anxious, guilty or scared. Talk to a close friend or relative about your feelings – they should be able to reassure you. If you’re feeling low, talk to your GP, who may be able to refer you to a counsellor.


Stamp out scams
Fraudsters are stealing hundreds of millions of pounds every year from innocent victims in bank account scams. Enough is enough. Demand banks protect us from scams.

3. See if you can get your money back

Losing money to a scam can be extremely upsetting, and leave a big hole in your pocket. Financial losses from fraud are rising. In 2016, Britons lost £769m to financial fraud, up £14m compared with the previous year. The average victim of cybercrime loses £520, according to a 2016 survey by Get Safe Online, but, unfortunately, you can’t always get your money back.


Your rights to reimbursement depend on whether the transaction was:

  • Unauthorised: something you didn’t know about or approve; or
  • Authorised: something that you approved and willingly agreed to.

Banks and building societies are obliged, under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 and the Banking Conduct of Business rules, to reimburse unauthorised fraudulent losses, as long as they believe that you took all reasonable steps to protect your financial details.


But, be warned – if a scammer talks you into giving away cash or your account details, it’s very unlikely that your bank will reimburse you. Currently, there are no rules surrounding authorised payments and banks don’t have to pay you back.


Which? Consumer Rights offers advice on how to get your money back after a scam in various circumstances. It explains what action to take if you’ve lost money via a credit card, debit card, bank transfer, PayPal or wire transfer.


If you believe that your bank or building society has wrongly refused to reimburse losses that were a result of an unauthorised transaction, you can take your dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Financial Ombudsman Service

A service set up by Parliament to sort out complaints between financial businesses and their customers.

Financial Ombudsman Service


Call the consumer helpline:

0800 023 4 567

Mon–Fri, 8am–8pm; Sat, 9am–1pm

Further reading

Common phone scams

Here are some common phone scams to be aware of – remember to trust your instinct if something doesn’t feel right.

Postal scams

Find out how to avoid common postal scams, the scale of the problem and what to look out for.

Common doorstep scams

Here we describe some common doorstep scams, and what you should do if you are faced with one.

Last updated: 25 Jun 2020