This is a common question, which comes up a lot in day to day practice. Plus, with stories about fraud rarely leaving the headlines, this is something that everyone should be aware of, individuals and businesses alike. When fraud occurs, there are steps you can take to recover losses - but my advice is always to make sure that you and your business are safeguarded in the first place.
Recovering the proceeds of crime can be extremely difficult. The fact is that the majority of people and businesses who fall victim to fraud do not recover a single penny. Sometimes this is because it is impossible to make a recovery but at others it’s simply because they don’t know where to start to make this happen.
As technology evolves, fraudsters are increasingly able to develop more complicated ways of defrauding cash. As an example, Action Fraud, the national centre for reporting fraud and cyber crime, recently reported 35,000 computer software service frauds last year. These typically involve scammers remotely accessing computers to fix fictitious problems. There is a huge wave in this type of crime and it is increasing with losses said to be over £20 million last year.
If you or your business has been a victim of crime, you should report any fraudulent behaviour or transaction to Action Fraud. They will then decide on appropriate action to take and will refer the matter to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau which is run by the police service.
In the meantime, you should also find out how to go about getting your money back. This can be quite involved but where money is stolen from your bank account, in most cases you should be able to get that money refunded unless your bank reasonably believes that you may have acted negligently with your security. If that’s the case, then , they may well want to investigate further.
If you are the victim of a scam, then the position can be different. Depending on how soon you realised and the payment method used, it might be too late to cancel or reverse the transaction. By then, your money could be thousands of miles away and spilt between hundreds of unidentified and untraceable accounts. Fraudsters do not, as a rule, hang about!
Of course, you should always take methods to prevent crimes from happening in the first place and trust your gut instinct - if something doesn’t feel right then ask questions until you are satisfied you are dealing with a genuine person. Never give out any personal details over the phone or online and do not proceed if you feel uncomfortable about what you are getting into.
For larger fraud related crimes, you may require a team of professionals, including solicitors, forensic accountants and fraud investigators. But if you have been the victim of any fraud, large or small, and you want to try to recover your losses, then you should consult the Dispute Resolution experts at DMH Stallard. Contact us today to see how we can help.