Falling victim to one of the many types of investment fraud scams isn’t only financially devastating, but it also takes an emotional toll with fathoming how to get back on your feet. A study funded by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation shows that almost two-thirds of fraud victims experience at least one severe emotional consequence, including stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, you aren’t alone in this; legal and emotional support is available.
With the advancement of technology, investment fraud scams and online banking scams are very common. £339 million was lost in 2019 by victims of investment fraud according to the Financial Times. Here, we’ve put together a five-step recovery guide for victims of investment scams and detail how to report investment fraud.
5 Step Recovery for Victims of Investment Fraud Scams
Step 1: Report the investment fraud
Reporting the investment fraud scam is the first step to recovery and should be reported to Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority.
In the first instance, contact Action Fraud and report details of the fraud. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. If you have been scammed, they should be your first port of call. You can report investment scams online through the website tool. During this process, you will answer a series of questions about fraud and enter your details.
Once you have submitted a report, it will be sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for assessment. During this assessment, experts will review the data from your report to decide whether there is sufficient information to send to the police for further investigation. From the police investigation, you will receive a crime number – keep a note of this number for the future.
Any legitimate business involved in any financial services activities should be registered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If you’ve been a victim of investment fraud, you also can report the scam or unauthorised business through the FCA online form. You can check if the scamming firm or individual is registered to the FCA on the Financial Services Register.
Step 2: Contact Your Bank
The second step for victims of investment scams is to contact your bank. Depending on your payment method at the time of the investment fraud, you may be able to make a claim:
- Credit card – while recovery isn’t guaranteed, credit card payments have higher degrees of protection and liability than other payment types, so it’s worth contacting your credit card company as soon as you become aware of fraudulent activity.
- Debit card – some banks subscribe to a chargeback scheme, but there is no guarantee your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback. Either way, report the investment scam to your bank as early as possible to increase your chances of recovery.
- Bank transfer – for investment fraud scams where you’ve been conned into transferring funds (such as a 419 scam) contact your bank immediately. The bank might be able to recover the funds.
- Unauthorised – it is possible to claim if money has been removed from your bank account without your authorisation. Contact your bank immediately if this happens.
Step 3: File All Fraud Documentation
When it comes to recovering from investment fraud scams, it’s important to collect as much evidence and information as possible. This information will help to support your claim. If you can, collect the following eight important pieces of information and store it in one place:
- Scammer’s name
- Scammer’s email and postal address
- Scammer’s telephone number
- Scammer’s website address
- Timeline of events and contact
- The police report and a crime number
- Contact with banks
- Bank statements with evidence of the investment
Step 4: Speak to an Investment Fraud Lawyer
It’s important to be aware of your legal rights while recovering from investment scams. To ensure you are getting robust advice, choose a lawyer who specialises in investment fraud. Members of St Pauls Chambers have successfully defended in cases where prosecutions have been brought by the SFO, FCA, HMRC, National Trading Standards, and the CPS Serious Fraud Division. Our fraud lawyers are committed to both defence and prosecution work. As a result, we offer our clients a wider skill set and greater depth of experience upon which to draw, whether you come to us as an individual, corporation, solicitor or government agency.
Step 5: Decide How to Proceed
Once you have heard back from your banks, Action Fraud, and spoken with a fraud lawyer, you will be more equipped to make an informed decision about how to proceed with the recovery. It might be that the bank or credit card company was able to recover the funds, but if the process proves to be more difficult, our team of experienced fraud barristers are here to help.