Check if you can get your money back after a scam
You might be able to get your money back after you’ve been scammed.
What you should do, and whether you’ll get a refund, depends on what happened.
Managing someone else’s bank account
If you're helping someone who's been scammed, there are ways you can manage their bank account for them. You might need to do this if you want to stop payments or claim back money.
The person you're helping needs to fill in a form giving you permission to manage their account. This is known as a third party mandate. Most banks have a third party mandate on their website.
If the person you're helping wants you to manage more than one account, they might need to give you power of attorney. They might also need to give you power of attorney if you have to manage their finances for a long time. To find out more, read our advice on managing affairs for someone else.
If there’s an unknown payment from your account
Contact your bank immediately if:
there’s a payment from your bank account you don’t recognise – this is known as an 'unauthorised transaction'
you’ve used your debit card and more money was taken than you expected
Explain what’s happened and ask if you can get a refund. If you’re not happy with how the bank deals with your claim, you can complain to them. Find out how to do this by checking their website.
If it's been 8 weeks since you complained, and you haven't got your money back, contact the Financial Ombudsman. You can also contact the ombudsman if you've had a letter from the bank saying it's not going to take any action. This is sometimes known as a final response letter.
If the ombudsman decides you've been treated unfairly, it's got legal powers to put things right.
If you’ve bought something from a scammer
If you paid by card or PayPal
If you've paid for something you haven't received, you might be able to get your money back.
Your card provider can ask the seller's bank to refund the money. This is known as the 'chargeback scheme'.
If you paid by debit card, you can use chargeback however much you paid.
If you paid by credit card and the item cost more than £100 but less than £30,000, you might be able to claim under the Consumer Credit Act - this is known as a 'Section 75 claim'.
If the item cost less than £100 and you paid by credit card, you can't use Section 75, but you can use chargeback.
See our advice on getting your money back if you paid by card or PayPal.
If you paid by bank transfer or Direct Debit
Contact your bank immediately to let them know what’s happened and ask if you can get a refund.
Most banks should reimburse you if you’ve transferred money to someone because of a scam. This type of scam is known as an ‘authorised push payment’.
If you've paid by Direct Debit, you should be able to get a full refund under the Direct Debit Guarantee.
If you can’t get your money back and you think this is unfair, you should follow the bank’s official complaints process. If your complaint isn’t sorted out in 8 weeks, or you get a final response letter, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman.
If you used a money transfer service
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your money back if you’ve paid through a wire service such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.
Even if you can’t get your money back, there are other things you can do – like reporting the scam and getting financial or emotional support.
There are things you can do to protect yourself if you ever need to use a money transfer service again.
only send money to someone you know
choose a password that’s hard to guess and don’t share it with others
If you paid by vouchers or gift cards
It's unlikely you'll get your money back if you used vouchers or gift cards to pay the scammer.
To protect yourself in future, never give numbers on the back of a gift card or voucher to anyone you don't know.
If you can't get your money back
Find out how to get emotional support after a scam.
If you need help with debt, check our advice on how to start dealing with your debts.
Report the scam
It's a good idea to report the scam – even if you haven’t got your money back yet. Find out how to report a scam.
Get more help
For more help dealing with scams, contact our consumer service.
Page last reviewed on 30 May 2019