Money habits

Help! I’ve been scammed

Don’t panic: here’s our expert guide on what to do next.

It’s horrible being scammed. You might feel angry, frustrated or embarrassed. But what you shouldn’t feel is alone or helpless. 

Fraud is the most common crime in England and Wales.  There were 3.7 million incidents reported in 2022, according to the National Crime Agency, and with an estimated 86% of cases going unreported, these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

Fraudsters strike lucky when their targets are at their most vulnerable. But that doesn’t mean victims are necessarily vulnerable people or ‘easy prey’. We all live busy lives and are more susceptible when we are on the go or our minds are elsewhere. Money worries, or the desire to bag a ‘must-have’ item at a bargain price, can also make us easier targets.


If you do get caught out, the important thing is not to panic. By taking the right action and reporting the incident, you may be able to get your money back and help stop criminals in their tracks.

Here’s what you need to do:

Will I get my money back?

What happens next will depend on whether the incident you’re reporting is fraud or a scam. Although the two words are often used to mean the same thing, there is a difference.

Fraud occurs when somebody obtains money from your account without your permission. This can include identity fraud, for example, where somebody steals your details and opens accounts in your name, or clones your cards and spends money on them.

Scams happen when criminals trick or manipulate you into making a payment yourself. This could include shopping at fake websites, investing in dubious investments or following instructions to transfer your money into a ‘safe’ account.

If you’re reporting a fraud and haven’t given away your account details, you will get a refund. Your card will be cancelled and you will be issued with a new one. If it’s a case where your online or mobile banking has been compromised, we’ll work with you to make it secure again.

With scams, the situation is trickier. This is because you authorised the payment yourself. However, we understand that scam victims are often manipulated by criminals, and, depending on the situation, you may still get your money back.

Support for victims

Victim Support

If you have been a victim of fraud or a scam and are struggling to deal with what has happened, we can also put you in touch with Victim Support. This independent charity is experienced in supporting the victims of financial crime.

Report the scam to the authorities

Banks work closely with the police to help crack down on fraud and scams. However, it’s still important to report any incident to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud, scams and cybercrime, run by the City of London Police.

You can contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

We understand

If you are struggling with the emotional effects of being scammed, watch our Q&A with Dr Anna Koczwara, NatWest’s Head of Behavioural Science & Applied Psychology, who offers tips on how to cope.

Rachel Lacey

Rachel is a freelance journalist specialising in consumer finance.

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