Last week, one of the KitKash team looked at their bank statement to see three unrecognised transactions. Listed as payments made to Amazon, it only took ten minutes to verify these were actually fraudulent transactions made without the account holder’s permission. Adding up to around £60 in total, this wasn’t an extreme fraud, but it was an invasion of privacy. It also hit home that this can happen to anyone – a fact that is underscored by the recent headline that half a billion pounds were stolen by fraudsters in the first six months of 2018.
Luckily, this little story ends with a remarkably simple phone call to the bank, who were able to process a refund in under an hour. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what you can do to follow up and take control:
The bulk of that 500 million was lost due to unauthorised fraud. Like the fraud in our example, this involves people making transactions without the account holder’s knowledge. In most cases, the bank will refund this – in fact, regulations from 2009 say that it’s their responsibility to do so. This can include cases where you authorised a payment, but the amount taken was higher than what you gave permission for.
You should contact the bank as soon as you realise that the unauthorised payment has happened (this is why it’s so important to review your statements regularly!). They may be able to refund you straight away, especially if the amount is small, or they may need to investigate further – in which case it may help if you can provide proof that you didn’t make the transaction yourself.
Authorised Push Payments (APP)
Unfortunately, people who fall victim to APP may find that recovering the cash is not so simple. According to UK Finance, £145m of fraud in the first half of the year involved authorised payments: for instance, being tricked into paying for a product or service that doesn’t actually exist. This can be a more complex situation, as there’s no regulation specifying that your bank needs to refund you: legally, the responsibility sits with you. However, there are still options:
- If you were scammed buying an item costing between £100 and £30,000 using a credit card, then you may be covered by section 75 of the consumer credit act, meaning that you can use what’s called a ‘chargeback’ to get your money back. Here’s a rundown of when section 75 will apply.
- There is also a ‘chargeback scheme‘ which allows you to reverse payments of under £100, for both debit and credit cards. This can be useful if products don’t arrive or are not as described – you will need to contact your bank to ask them to recover the money.
- If you have been scammed into transferring money into another bank account then you need to contact your bank immediately. They are not obliged to refund you, but they may be able to help recover the money. You should also contact the police and report the fraud.
We hope that you don’t find yourself in a position where you need to use this guide – but if you do, it should help you take the necessary next steps as quickly as possible.