Can you recover your money after being subjected to Internet fraud? This is one of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to this particular cybercrime. The answer to it is yes, but it comes with a caveat: that such recoveries are rare.
That said, if you are the type who does not give up hope while there is still a chance, you may want to try one of the options below…
- Formal Litigation for Internet Fraud
This is a very rarely used option. Most fraud perpetrators tend to be in different countries from their victims, which can lead to issues with jurisdiction (if the perpetrators can be tracked down in the first place). Most Internet fraud cases also tend to involve small monetary amounts, at least legally speaking. For most of them, the costs of litigation would far outweigh any potential compensation the victim could gain.
That said, if the case involves a large enough sum of money, the perpetrator is known and legally accessible, and the victim has sufficient resources to pursue both a formal investigation and prosecution, this is one way to recover money.
Take note, by the way, that you do not always need to be suing the perpetrator of the Internet fraud scheme himself in this option. If negligence or some form of miscarriage of duty caused the payment processor or bank in the situation to directly contribute to the fraud, you can make a formal complaint against the bank and demand a refund.
- Try a Refund or Chargeback
This only applies to some cases of Internet fraud and it does not always work. Refunds can be requested with some payment processors, such as PayPal, for example. However, this is not applicable to all cases as payment processors only cover certain types of transactions. As for a chargeback, it can be requested when the goods you paid for were not delivered as promised.
You do have to act quickly if chargeback is a possibility, though. There are varying time limits imposed for this relevant to the moment of transaction. The chargeback will also only work if the money you sent has not yet been withdrawn from the fraudster’s bank account. A chargeback is basically a request from your bank to the fraudster’s bank asking for the transaction to be reversed. If the Internet fraud scheme to which you fell prey involved a wire transfer of funds instead, though, you cannot use the chargeback for obvious reasons even after Internet fraud.
- See If You Have Consumer Protection Under Law
Check if there are consumer protection laws in your country that apply to your case. These usually have to do with whether or not the credit card company is jointly liable in a fraudulent transaction.
In the UK, for example, buyers have the Consumer Protection Act, wherein Section 75 allows them to file claims with credit card companies should they have been subjected to fraud in a transaction involving goods worth at least £100 and at most, £30,000. The laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so you need to check first if your credit card provider has any obligation to consider your claim in an Internet fraud case before making demands.