Five things you should do immediately if you’ve been scammed
ONS data shows online fraud increased by up to 70% during the pandemic, disruption of lockdowns and greater use of online services providing fraudsters with new strike opportunities.
While this is a situation everyone hopes they can avoid, it’s a good idea to know what to do if you’ve been scammed.
Al Ward, head of customer savings at abrdn, explains five main steps to take:
Contact your bank
If you have been scammed and paid money, you should contact your bank as soon as possible.
You need to tell them exactly what happened and give them all possible details about where your money was sent including the account number and sort code used if you have them.
Your bank may be able to stop the current transaction, or even get the money back from the account you sent it to.
Report the scam
Once you have spoken to your bank, you should contact the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consumer helpline or use their online form to explain your situation.
If your scam involved sending money or sharing personal information, you are advised to report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud crime reporting center. Any information that you and other victims give will be passed on and used for analysis by the police.
While it may seem unnecessary to report something that has already happened, it can help prevent other people from experiencing the same scam.
If a con artist is in your area or if you have transferred money to a con artist within the past 24 hours, you should immediately contact the police on 101. If you feel threatened or in danger, you should call 999 .
Broadcast the alert
If you have other financial products, like investments or accounts, let the vendors know what happened. You can request that some form of protection be applied to your accounts, such as a password or warning marker which means you will be contacted if someone attempts to transfer funds from your accounts or if any details need to be. modified.
You can also contact CIFAS, a fraud prevention charity. Signing up for its protection registration will report your name and personal information to its national fraud database – businesses registered with the database will see you are in danger and take additional steps to protect you.
If you own a property, you may want to sign up for a free property alert with the Land Registry in case someone tries to do something with your property.
Check for security vulnerabilities
If the scam has resulted in, or if you think it may have, resulted in the theft of your personal information, such as a password, it is important to take quick action.
Follow the instructions from the National Cyber Security Center and change your password for any affected account as soon as possible. You must also do this for all other accounts that use the same password.
If you think your laptop, tablet, or phone has been targeted with a virus, run a virus scan to identify and then remove any threats.
Seek emotional support
They offer a free helpline where you can talk to someone in confidence and without passing judgment on what you are going through.
Scams are a lot more common than you might think, so don’t hesitate to ask for help – be sure to use all the assistance available to you.
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