‘Fight for your money!’ Scam victims can recover thousands of pounds from their own bank

Nurse scammed out of her £45 thousand pension

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It may be very difficult to recover the stolen funds from the scammers themselves, but Britons can try and get some money back from their own bank. People can do this themselves or with the help of a claims management company (CMC).

Will Ayles is co-founder and director of Refundee, a CMC which specialises in helping fraud victims get their money back.

He said: “Scam victims may be able to get money back directly from their bank if the bank failed to protect them.

“This is written into UK banking regulations.

“All scam victims can fight for their money, and they don’t need representation from us or any one else to do so.

“Many victims don’t feel comfortable doing it themselves or want to use the services of experts.

“If that is the case, it’s really important they use an FCA regulated firm like Refundee as there are many fake CMCs targeting previous scam victims and many sadly fall for these ‘recovery scams’.”

He also urged victims to be mindful of paying upfront fees for a group to look at their claim, as this is a typical sign that a company is a scam.

A victim trying to get their money back will first need to report the scam to their own bank, including details of the specific transactions that went to the scammers.

This will allow the fraudsters’ bank to also be notified.

Victims should be prepared to be turned down initially.

Unfortunately, less than half of funds lost to Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud in 2021 were refunded to victims.

APP fraud is when scammers pretend to be a legitimate bank or investment group to convince a person to send over large amounts of money.

If they are refused, the customer can then complain to the bank, over the phone or in writing.

It helps to have the complaint in writing so the victim has their own copy of the correspondence.

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Once the bank has responded or after 15 days have passed, the complaint can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service for free.

Customers can do this by filling in an online form on the service’s website.

The case will first be looked at by an investigator, whose decision is not legally binding.

If the investigator turns down the case, the person can still make representations before it is looked at by an ombudsman, who has the final say on the case.

Mr Ayles said: “We always encourage victims to do their case themselves if they feel able to as this saves them having to pay anyone a fee.”

Refundee only charges customers if they manage to get their money back.

Even those who have lost large amounts of money should not give up on getting their money back.

Refundee has recovered more than £100,000 for several victims, with one person recently getting back £160,000.

Another case the group is currently disputing is for £2.8 million.

Mr Ayles said: “These have all been APP scams, where victims were tricked into sending money from their bank accounts to something they thought was legitimate, but turned out to be a scam.

“In these instances their banks let them down terribly, by not questioning the huge payments at all, or conducting a very poor conversation that failed to protect them.”

Of course, Britons will be keen to avoid this issue altogether by not being scammed in the first place.

The scams expert said that investment scams are a very common ploy used by fraudsters.

Mr Ayles said: “Be extremely cautious if anyone asks you to send money through a cryptocurrency wallet.

“The number one fraud trend right now is scammers tricking people into fake investments and telling them to set up a cryptocurrency wallet to send the money.

“Once the money is sent through cryptocurrency it is highly unlikely it could ever be returned.”

Social media scams also are on the increase.

People should check the Financial Conduct Authority register and be cautious of any requests for money.

Companies who are not listed may well be a scam.

Fraudsters can even fake the phone numbers of banks and other companies to make them appear legitimate when they call people up.

Mr Ayles said never to trust the number that a person has dialled from but rather to hanf up and call the firm back on a trusted number.

People should also be wary of links in text messages.

Scammers often send bogus messages pretending to be from the NHS or Royal Mail.

These will include links to fake websites, which they use to get personal details or banking information.

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