How your bank should help when you’ve been scammed

The moments, minutes and months after a financial scam can be crucial, not just in terms of getting your hard-earned money back but to stop it happening again.

According to research from consumer organisation Which? some banks are failing to support bank transfer fraud victims, leaving them at risk of future attempts. 

When 432 victims of fraud or attempted fraud were surveyed in May this year, a third (32%) said they weren’t offered resources or advice on staying safe by their banks – despite most current account providers being signed up to a voluntary code that requires them to provide support.

Which? has compiled some useful tips on what you should do after a fraud or attempted fraud – and what you should expect from your bank. 

  • The quicker you report fraudulent activity, the sooner you can stop more payments from leaving your account and start the process of trying to get your money back. All high street banks have 24-hour phone lines for reporting fraud, you can find the number on the back of your debit card or online. 
  • Your first priority is likely to be getting your money back but you need to stay vigilant as the same fraudster could contact you again and offer to get your money back – for a fee. Although it accounted for one in 200 reports received by Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, reports of recovery fraud were up 39% on the previous year. 
  • Without clear advice, fraud victims are more vulnerable to being scammed again. Most major banks have signed up to a voluntary code on bank transfer scams which not only instructs them to reimburse victims who are not at fault, but also to provide education, referrals for advice and other tools to help them protect themselves. This might include signing up for protection registration on the National Fraud Database. 
  • To help protect other would-be victims, report the fraud to Action Fraud. Change the password for any accounts that have been compromised or that use the same password and set up two-factor authentication. 
  • Fraud can have a damaging effect mentally as well as financially. Victim Support can assist regardless of when the fraud took place while Mind and the Samaritans can help you deal with the impact of fraud on your mental health. Mind’s phone lines are open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday while the Samaritans are available 24/7.

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