Immediate Steps: What to Do If You Got Scammed and How to Recover Your Losses

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If you’re wondering ‘what to do if you got scammed,’ the clock is ticking – immediate action is needed to secure your assets and begin the recovery process. This guide provides no-nonsense, actionable steps to protect yourself and potentially recover from financial fraud. With swift action and the right information, you can navigate this challenge and mitigate the damage.

Key Takeaways – What to Do If You Got Scammed

  • Immediately after realising you’ve been scammed, it’s integral to contact your bank to freeze accounts, update all online passwords, and closely monitor your account and credit activities to prevent further unauthorised access or transactions.

  • Reporting the scam to authorities like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Action Fraud, and the police is crucial for managing the situation, potentially recovering losses, and preventing the scam from happening to others, as well as documenting all details meticulously for investigation.

  • Explore financial recovery options such as Consumer Credit Act protections, chargeback, and bank transfer reimbursements, and understand that while recovery from money transfer services is challenging, reporting the incident to them is still important.

Immediate Action: Halt the Scam and Secure Your Accounts

Person contacting bank for scam report, What to Do If You Got Scammed

When you’ve been scammed, time is of the essence. Taking quick steps is vital to stop the scam and minimise potential harm. The first thing to remember is not to panic. Staying composed, collecting your thoughts, and making swift, decisive actions are necessary.

Initiating contact with your credit card company, bank, or card provider is the first move. They can help you with the following:

  • Secure your accounts and potentially prevent further financial losses

  • Issue replacement cards if your banking details or credit card information was compromised

  • Enhance security protocols for your account

Following that, fortify your online presence. Scammers can utilise stolen information in unforeseen ways, including accessing your credit card company’s website and making unauthorised transactions. Update all passwords and PINs associated with your online accounts to mitigate the risk of further unauthorised access.

Lastly, keep an eye on your bank account for any unusual transactions. This diligent scrutiny can help detect irregular transactions or unauthorised activity, particularly if you have transferred money to a scammer.

Reach Out to Your Bank Immediately

In the event of a scam, your bank serves as your primary shield. Contact the customer service phone number of your bank promptly to report the scam. The bank will likely freeze your accounts, issue replacement cards, and enhance the security protocols for your account to prevent any additional financial losses.

If you’ve transferred money to the scammer, notify your bank immediately. Most banks offer reimbursement for scams, and you could potentially get your money back. If you’ve noticed large sums being taken out in chunks over time, you have the option to stop these transactions and mitigate further financial loss.

Secure Your Online Presence

Secure online accounts after being scammed, wondering what to Do If You Got Scammed

Upon being scammed, securing your online presence is vital. This involves more than just changing your passwords. Scammers can use even small amounts of stolen information in unimaginable ways, including:

  • accessing your credit card company’s website and making unauthorized transactions

  • opening new credit card accounts in your name

  • applying for loans or mortgages in your name

  • filing fraudulent tax returns

  • accessing your email and social media accounts

It is important to take immediate action to protect yourself and prevent further damage.

Update all passwords and PINs for your online accounts immediately. Ensure you choose strong, unique passwords and don’t reuse passwords across different platforms. This can significantly reduce the risk of further unauthorised access to your personal information, especially if you frequently transfer money online.

Monitor Account Activity

In the aftermath of a scam, closely observing your account activity is an important step. Regularly review your bank statements and credit card statements to detect any irregular transactions or unauthorised activity. This should ideally be done a few times per week or even daily. If you spot any suspicious transactions on your bank statement, report them to your bank immediately.

Regular monitoring of your credit report is also crucial for identifying potentially fraudulent transactions or indicators of identity theft. If you suspect identity theft, verify your credit file through a reputable credit reference agency. Any financial transactions or borrowing associated with your identity will be reflected in the credit file.

Learn how to shield yourself from scammer calls, with a comprehensive list of scammer phone numbers, read our informative article and protect your data.

Reporting the Incident: Where and How

Alerting relevant authorities about the scam is a key measure in managing the situation. By reporting the scam, you not only help prevent it from happening to others but also aid in potentially recovering your losses. You should report the incident to either the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Action Fraud or Police Scotland. It’s important to alert the relevant authorities as soon as possible..

Document all relevant information about the scam, such as dates, times, and any communication with the scammer. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for investigators to understand the scam and potentially track down the scammers. If you’re unsure about receiving a refund, consult with Action Fraud. They can provide guidance on the next steps and strategies for recovering your funds.

Document Everything

Keeping a record is an integral aspect of the reporting process. It’s essential to record all relevant information about the scam, such as dates, times, and any communication with the scammer.

To effectively document a scam incident, maintain a detailed log of the incident response, encompassing decisions, actions, and captured data. Gather all relevant information and documentation pertaining to the scam. Screenshots and email threads are valid forms of evidence, although their authenticity must be established in the event of any challenges.

Contact Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the official national reporting center for fraud and internet crime in the UK. They are managed by the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Reporting the scam to Action Fraud can aid in their investigation and potentially prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.

To report a scam to Action Fraud, submit a report through their official website or contact an Action Fraud Advisor at 0300 123 2040. Provide as much information as possible about the scam to aid in their investigation.

Inform the Police if Personal Details Are Compromised

Informing police about compromised personal details

In case your personal information has been compromised in a scam, reporting it to the police and your bank is of utmost importance. This allows them to take appropriate action and helps to protect you from further harm.

Report the situation to the police promptly, and provide them with all the information you have about the scam. Also, inform your bank about the compromised data. They can implement measures to safeguard your accounts, halt any unauthorised transactions, and explore the possibility of reimbursement.

Financial Recovery: Exploring Your Options

Although being scammed can take a significant emotional toll, it can also have a devastating financial impact. However, there are options available for financial recovery, depending on the type of scam and the payment method you used.

Review the protections provided by the Consumer Credit Act, understand chargeback and bank transfer reimbursements, and consider the options available for money transfer services. Each of these options can potentially help you recover your losses. It’s important to understand that each case is unique, and the options available to you can vary depending on the nature of the scam and your specific circumstances.

Remember, it’s not your fault that you were scammed, and there are resources available to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and explore all available avenues for financial recovery.

Review Consumer Credit Act Protections

If your scam involved a credit card payment, the Consumer Credit Act’s protections might assist you in recovering your losses. Section 75 of the Act can enable you to receive a refund for transactions ranging from £100 to £30,000.

The Act specifically applies to credit card payments and offers greater protection for these. However, it does not cover all payment methods. For ‘authorised push payment’ scams, banks typically offer reimbursement.

Understand Chargeback and Bank Transfer Reimbursements

Chargeback is a mechanism that allows you to reverse a credit or debit card transaction in the event of a scam and recover your funds. This option is often provided by banks as part of their service offerings.

Bank transfer reimbursement is initiated when the bank refunds the entire amount, along with any associated fees or interest, in the event of a transfer error, such as sending funds to an incorrect account. The conditions for reimbursement encompass:

  • Breach of contract

  • Misrepresentation by the seller

  • Discrepancy between the merchandise and its description

  • Failed delivery of goods

  • Supplier insolvency

Considerations for Money Transfer Services

If you used a money transfer service like MoneyGram, PayPoint, or Western Union, getting your money back can be more challenging. Refunds from these services are rarely offered, and the likelihood of recovering your lost money is typically low.

However, it’s still important to report the scam to them. Even if a refund isn’t feasible, they can take steps to prevent the scammer from using their service in the future. They can also provide guidance on the next steps and strategies for recovering your funds.

Emotional and Victim Support: You’re Not Alone

Seeking emotional support after being scammed, wondering what to Do If You Got Scammed

Financial recovery is only one aspect of dealing with a scam. The emotional toll of being scammed can be just as significant, if not more so. But remember, you’re not alone. Emotional support and assistance are available from professionals and independent charities.

You may find it helpful to seek professional support, such as therapy or counseling, to help you process your feelings and cope with the situation. Independent charities like Mind and Citizens Advice can provide confidential information, support, and advice.

Seek Professional Support

In dealing with the aftermath of a scam, seeking emotional support from trusted friends, family, or professionals can be of great help. They can offer a safe space to express your feelings, provide reassurance, and help restore your sense of control.

Various professional resources are available, such as LifePaths Counseling and Dóchas Psychological Services. Victim advocates at local law enforcement or county prosecuting attorney offices can also provide assistance and resources.

Independent Charity Assistance

Independent charities can offer additional support to scam victims. Organisations like Mind and Citizens Advice provide services ranging from helplines for information and support, to emotional and practical assistance for victims of scams.

To access their services, visit their websites for guidance and to schedule appointments. They can help you understand the next steps to take, including advising you to contact your bank to safeguard your accounts and directing you to report the scams to Action Fraud.

Preventative Measures: Safeguarding Against Future Scams

Practicing safe online and offline habits to prevent future scams

Although recovery is vital, safeguarding yourself from future scams is just as important. By staying informed, updating your security software, and practicing safe online and offline habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to scams in the future.

Remember, the best weapon against scams is knowledge. By being aware of the common types of scams and knowing how to recognise them, you can protect yourself and your finances from future harm.

What are the top scams in 2024? Read our informative article and discover how to stay safe.

Update Anti-Virus Software

To protect your devices from malware and phishing attempts, it’s important to consistently update your anti-virus software and firewall. These updates enable the software to efficiently identify and defend against the most recent threats and malware.

Set your anti-virus software to update automatically. This ensures that your computer is always protected against new and evolving threats, reducing your risk of falling victim to scams.

Stay Informed on Common Scams

Keeping abreast of common scams is an additional effective strategy for your protection. Regularly checking reputable resources such as the FCA and Action Fraud websites can provide you with valuable insights into prevalent scams.

Being aware of the common types of scams can help you spot red flags and avoid potential scams in the future. For example, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always trust your gut instincts and don’t be afraid to question anything that seems suspicious.

Practice Safe Online and Offline Habits

Adopting safe online and offline habits serves as a beneficial deterrent against scams. When utilising public Wi-Fi, for instance, it is crucial to implement a VPN (Virtual Private Network) client on your devices to encrypt your internet traffic and safeguard your data.

Learn to protect yourself from the risk of public WiFi, read our informative blogpost and learn how.

When using money transfer services, only send money to someone you know and trust. Choose a strong, unique password, and avoid sharing it with others. These simple habits can go a long way in protecting your personal information and preventing future scams.


Navigating the aftermath of a scam can be challenging, but you’re not alone. Remember, immediate action is crucial. Reach out to your bank, secure your online presence, and monitor your account activity. Report the scam to the relevant authorities and explore all available avenues for financial recovery. Seek emotional support and assistance from professionals and independent charities.

While the journey may seem daunting, remember that knowledge is power. Stay informed about common scams, update your security software regularly, and practice safe online and offline habits. This will help you safeguard against future scams and regain control of your financial and emotional wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my money back if I was scammed?

Yes, contacting your bank immediately and informing them about the scam can help you get a refund, as most banks should reimburse you for money transferred due to a scam.

What do I do if I’ve been scammed?

If you’ve been scammed, contact your bank immediately to report the incident and inquire about a refund. Additionally, change your passwords and monitor your credit report to prevent further scams.

How do I report a scam?

To report a scam, document all relevant information, such as dates and communication with the scammer, and then report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the FCA, Action Fraud, or Police Scotland.

I’m feeling emotionally distressed after being scammed. What support is available to me?

You can seek emotional support from trusted friends, family, or professionals, and also reach out to organisations like Mind and Citisens Advice for confidential information and advice on dealing with the aftermath of being scammed.

How can I protect myself from future scams?

To protect yourself from future scams, stay informed about common scams, keep your security software updated, and practice safe online and offline habits.

What to do after you’ve been scammed?

If you’ve fallen victim to a deep fake scam, it’s important to act quickly and follow these steps:
Report the Incident: Immediately report the scam to local law enforcement and, if applicable, to your country’s cybercrime unit. Provide them with all the details of the scam.
Contact Your Bank: If you’ve shared financial information or made any payments, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to report the fraud. They can help secure your accounts and monitor for suspicious activity.
Change Your Passwords: Change the passwords for any accounts that might have been compromised during the scam. This includes your email, bank accounts, and any other sensitive online accounts.
Inform Your Contacts: If the scam involved impersonating you or a family member, inform your contacts so they are aware and don’t fall for the same scam.
Stay Informed: Educate yourself about the latest scamming techniques, especially related to deep fake technology. Awareness is a key defense against future scams.
Seek Support: Being the victim of a scam can be distressing. Don’t hesitate to seek emotional support from friends, family, or professional counselors.

Can you claim back scammed money?

If you’ve fallen victim to a deep fake scam and lost money, the possibility of reclaiming it depends on several factors. Here’s a brief overview:
Report Immediately: Your first step should be to report the scam to your bank or financial institution as soon as possible. The quicker you act, the higher the chances of recovering your funds.
Law Enforcement Involvement: File a report with local law enforcement or a relevant cybercrime unit. They can investigate and, in some cases, help in recovering the funds.
Bank Policies: Some banks have policies that may cover losses due to fraud. Check with your bank to understand their terms and conditions.
Insurance Coverage: If you have fraud insurance, you might be covered for losses due to scams. Review your policy details.
No Guarantees: Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of getting your money back, especially in cases involving sophisticated scams like deep fakes. Prevention is always the best strategy.
Remember, staying informed and cautious is key to avoiding such scams in the first place.

Useful Reference Websites

  1. Action
    • The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. It offers advice on what to do if you’ve been scammed and how to report it.
  2. Citizens
    • Provides comprehensive guidance on what steps to take if you’ve fallen victim to a scam, including how to get your money back.
  3. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
    • Offers information on financial scams and advice on how to avoid them, as well as what to do if you’ve been affected.
  4. Which?
    • Offers consumer advice, including detailed guides on different types of scams and how to deal with them.
  5. Money Advice
    • Provides free and impartial money advice, including what actions to take if you’ve been scammed.
  6. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
    • Offers guidance on protecting yourself from cyber scams and what to do if you become a victim of cybercrime.
  7. Get Safe
    • Provides practical advice on how to protect yourself from online scams and what to do if you’ve been scammed.
  8. Age
    • Offers advice tailored for older adults on how to recognise and deal with scams.
  9. Trading
    • Provides information on consumer rights and advice on what to do if you’ve been scammed.
  10. UK
    • Offers information and advice on banking and finance scams, including steps to take if you’ve been a victim of financial fraud.
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With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.