How to Get Your Funds Back from an Online Scam

Updated October 6, 2023

Have you fallen victim to an online scam? If so, we’re sorry. It sucks to lose your money to scammers. Sometimes, a scam manages to only take a small amount of your money (such as if you spent $20 ordering something that never arrived), but other times they can take more than you can afford to lose. Luckily, it’s possible to get your funds back from scammers. Here are some steps you can take to get your money back.

Ask for a Refund

This step is so obvious, and yet it also feels counterintuitive. If someone stole your money, they’re probably not going to give it back just because you asked. However, it’s still worth a try. If you ask for, or demand, a refund, especially if you threaten to follow it up with legal action, some scammers will give your funds back just to get you to leave them alone.

Even if you don’t get your money back, it can be important to document the fact that you tried. We’ll get into why later.

See if You Can Initiate a Charge-Back

Depending on how you paid the scammer, your financial institution may have your back. If you used PayPal or a credit card, for instance, they both have processes you can go through to dispute a charge.

This is why many scammers these days ask to be paid with a bank transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift cards. These sorts of transactions are much harder if not impossible to do a charge-back on. Always be wary of anyone who demands to be paid with these specific methods.

Wage a Campaign on Their Reputation

If you were scammed by a business, sometimes you can get your funds back by going after their reputation. By sharing your story on your social media, their social posts, review sites, the BBB, any place that you can think of, you can show that you are not going away and you want your money back. Whether or not this tactic works depends on the business’s strategy; some scam businesses operate in a very “fly by night” manner, where they simply close up shop after scamming enough people and then reopen under a different name. But others are playing a long game and may be willing to give you back your money just so they can claim they always refund unhappy customers, and thus keep the scam going.

Hire a Professional to Get Your Funds Back

If you can’t get satisfaction from any of these channels, and you lost enough money to really want to get it back, it may be worth hiring a funds recovery expert. There are many firms which specialize in getting scammers to pay back the money they have stolen.

While it does cost money to hire these firms, most of them offer a free consultation. This will allow you to share the details of your case, and they’ll let you know if they think they can get your funds back.

Remember when we told you to document that you asked for your money back? This is an important step to take before hiring the pros, as you’ll need to prove you already tried on your own to get a refund.

You don’t have to let the scammers get away with what they did. Follow these steps, and one way or another, you’ll have a chance to get your money back.

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