Identity theft and scams: how to get your money back

Falling victim to a scam, having your identity stolen or your card cloned can be distressing. But if you’ve had money stolen from your account, there are things you can do. Find out how to report the crime, what your bank can do and how to get your money back. 

What to do when money is stolen from your bank account

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If money has been taken from your bank account without permission, there are certain steps you should take. This is whether your identity has been stolen, your card cloned, there’s been an unrecognised bank transfer or you’ve been the victim of a scam.

  1. Contact your bank or card provider to alert them. You could be liable for all money lost before you report it.
  2. If you’ve been targeted, even if you’re not a victim of it, you can report it to Action Fraud. Call 0300 123 2040 or use the online reporting tool on Action Fraud. In Scotland, report the scam to Police Scotland on 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 800 9060.
  3. You can also report financial scams, such as investment fraud, on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website
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My debit card has been used fraudulently

If someone has used your card in a store or online, you’re covered under the Payment Services Regulations.

The regulations state you must be refunded immediately if you’ve had money taken from your account without your permission.

You must report the loss of your debit card, or any unauthorised payments, as soon as possible. This is because you’re liable for any losses before it has been reported, up to a maximum of £50.

My credit card has been used fraudulently

If someone makes unauthorised payments on your credit card, you’re covered under the Consumer Credit Act.

This means you should be able to claim your money back as you’re jointly liable with your credit card issuer.

As with debit cards, you might be liable for the first £50 spent if the card is lost or stolen. However, this is often waived if you report it quickly and were not negligent in any way. It’s up to the card company to prove you were negligent.

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What if someone applies for credit or opens a bank account in my name?

If your identity has been stolen, they might try to open bank accounts, or apply for credit cards and loans in your name.

You might start to get letters from banks you don’t have accounts with, credit cards you’ve never applied for, or from debt collectors you know nothing about.

If this happens, contact your bank straight away and make sure you keep all correspondence.

Also contact credit reference agencies if someone has applied for a loan or credit card in your name. The main three to contact are:

If you think someone has got your information by stealing your post, or by redirecting mail, you can also call Royal Mail customer services on 03457 740 740.

Do banks reimburse stolen money?

If you’ve done nothing to compromise the security of your account, you should get your money back. But this isn’t guaranteed.

Refunds can be delayed if the bank has reasonable grounds to think you’ve been grossly negligent with the security of your account.

If the bank’s investigation proves you were negligent, you might be liable for all the losses.

Examples of negligence include telling someone your PIN or password. However, banks can’t simply say because your PIN or password were used, that the payment was authorised.

Banks can also refuse to give a refund if you tell them about an unauthorised payment 13 months or more after it left your account.

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What if my bank rejects my claim?

Your bank might reject your claim for a refund if they believe they can prove that you have been grossly negligent or acted fraudulently.

This doesn’t have to be the end of the matter though – you can complain to the bank.

If you’re not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with, you can then take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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