How to Get Money Back After Being Scammed Online?


It is something that nobody wants to see happen, but unfortunately, no matter how street-wise we are, we can fall victim to an online scam.

The important thing to remember if this happens is not to let your emotions get the better of the situation, and do not be afraid or embarrassed to take some action to try and retrieve any funds you may have lost.

Sometimes, it can be difficult knowing where to begin in this kind of situation. With that in mind, we will try to guide you through a number of ways how to get your money back after being scammed online.

What to do if you Paid by Credit Card, Debit Card, or Bank Transfer

The important thing to do here and with any method of payment is once you realize you have been victim of a scam, you should act quickly. The most important thing you can do is to contact your financial institution to let them know you have been defrauded.

This should set in motion a series of events. Typically, though this depends on the amount you have lost out. If the amount is not very large, you will likely be asked to sign a form or affidavit to pledge that you have been defrauded and do not authorize the charges on your account.

This part of the process should be the same if you are dealing with your credit card company. Typically, depending on the procedures of your card company or bank, your refund can be processed within a certain period of time, typically not longer than 28-days.

For larger amounts, the process may include some additional steps and be prolonged as the fraud department of your bank or credit card company investigate the matter. Depending on the severity of the scam, this type of larger amount could take a much longer time to be refunded, but is still typically covered in most cases by the insurance of your financial institution.

This process may be one which takes time, and it certainly does require patience in order to proceed through the form filling and some waiting time, but once you have done that, there is often a positive resolution provided that the scam was genuine and you can prove this through your own documents and actions taken.

What to do if you Paid by PayPal

Paying with PayPal also affords you certain protections which you may or may not be aware. You have a number of options with PayPal for filing a dispute depending upon the situation. You typically have the ability to select from not having received your products, the fact that they were not as described, or that you did not authorize a transaction.

An important factor again when you realized you have been scammed through PayPal is to act in good time. The longer you wait, the less likely a decision in your favor may be. Once you have realized the scam, provided you are still within the buyer protection period, you should file a dispute via the PayPal resolution center.

To support this dispute, you should explain the situation in as much detail as possible. You should also try to attach any supporting documents or screenshots which can help you case. The PayPal team will then endeavor to contact the other party in order to get their side of the story prior to making a decision on a possible refund. If the other party is unresponsive or cannot provide any concrete evidence behind the transaction such as tracking information and proof of delivery, then it is highly likely you would receive a refund.

This PayPal resolution process timeline really depends on the responses of the other party, though it is likely in the event you have been scammed that the other party will be unresponsive. This typically means a period or around 14 working days before a PayPal decision is made. Again, there is a very good chance that this ruling will be made in your favor. If not, you can also appeal any decision which the PayPal team makes for a further review.

What to do if you used a Money Transfer Service

If you have used another money transfer service then the chances of getting refunded if you have been the victim of a scam are unfortunately variable.

For many years it has been a well-known fact that money transfer services like Western Union are hit and miss when it comes to the transparency of sellers. Refunds through these kind of services are also very difficult to pursue since there is often no paper trail and diminished levels of accountability.

MoneyGram or other money wire transfer services are others which, although levels of protection are increasing, still do not offer a sufficient degree of protection to you when conducting any kind of high value transactions online or offline.

The advice, if you are planning a purchase and the seller will only accept these methods of payment would be to avoid the purchase and move on to another vendor who will accept a more transparent payment method.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while it may be easy to feel that all is lost when you are scammed online, there are a number of avenues you can pursue in order to get your money back. Many operating these kinds of online scams will be hopeful that you just give up in the quest for your money back, however, in many cases, being proactive and following these steps can help save you time, stress, and be very helpful in returning as much of the funds you lost as possible.

Added to this, you should always take care of your personal information, and remember to perform all the due diligence required to ensure the other party you are transacting with is trustworthy. This is sometimes easier said than done and you can always refer to the above steps for further guidance.

About the author

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman is the Chief Analyst and author at InvestorGreg. She won the Sky News Fiona McDiarmad award and subsequently became a journalist for Sky News. Read more

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