How to get your money back after a scam

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get your money back after you’ve been scammed, but you can try.

Credit/Debit cover

If you paid for goods and/or services via credit or debit card, you are better protmoneyback62ected should things go wrong according to the Consumer Credit Act.

But whether you can make a claim or not depends on the type of scam you have fallen for.

An example of a scam where you could use the Consumer Credit Act or charge-back would be a scam where you paid for goods or services, and it turns out these were either never available, or the ‘seller’ has disappeared.

Credit cards have the greatest protection, as you can make a claim against your card provider when this happens.

The credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company.

For this to apply, the item you bought must be more than R1000 and less than R30000.

Use Charge-back

If you used a debit card, you might be able to ask your bank to get your money back through the charge-back scheme.

Charge-back is not enshrined in law but is part of Scheme Rules, which participating banks subscribe to.

It applies to all debit card transactions including goods costing less than R1000, although exact rules may vary between the Visa, Master card, Maestro and American Express networks.

But, there are no guarantees your bank will be able to recover the money through a charge-back.

Charge-back also applies to credit card transactions but will be particularly useful where goods cost less than R1000.

Unauthorized Transactions

If there is a transaction on your card you know nothing about, then you can make a claim from your bank as an unauthorized transaction.

If you hand over your card to have a particular amount debited from it, and then you find more money has been taken without your permission, or a sum has been taken by someone else, you can make a claim for this extra amount.

Fortunately for you, in cases like this, your bank will refund you the money and start their investigation to find where the mistake had taken place. This way they can prevent it in the future.

Make sure you report the unauthorized transaction as soon as you become aware of it.

Bank transfers

If you’ve been caught out by a complex and convincing scam which has resulted in you transferring your money into another bank account, then you should contact your bank immediately.

The bank can try and recover the funds once they are notified.

You could also have grounds to complain if somehow the bank has contributed to the fraud or if they have failed to try and recover the funds properly.

If your bank refuses to offer you a refund, or only offers a partial refund, you have a couple of options:

  • Make an official complaint with the bank – but be aware that banks have up to 8 weeks to deal with an official complaint.
  • Inform the bank that you will escalate your complaint.

You should also contact the police, a crime number will usually help your claim.

Money transfer scams

Unfortunately, you can’t always get your money back if you’ve been scammed, especially if you’ve handed over cash or you’ve paid via a wire service like the Western Union, Money-gram or Pay-point.

One of these services provides advice on how to avoid fraud and scams, so it’s a good idea to read their advice. That means, before using any form of money transfer, make sure you read through their T&C’s first, that also helps.

Beware of replying to emails

If you respond to an email from fraudsters and send money, there is no mechanism to get the money back if it’s a transaction you authorized.

You should be particularly careful of responding to emails that state you stand to gain a large sum of money but need to send money to release the funds, like with most Loan Scams in the country.

If you choose to do so, there is nothing you can do to get the money back through your bank as this will be viewed as money you have willingly paid out.

This is how waiters, bartenders or anyone else that works in a restaurant steals your card details. Read more.

Should you have any other questions or know of ways to get your money back after a scam and would like us to add it, please share your comment below, we look forward to hearing from you.

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