Having your money lost or stolen is a frightening and frustrating experience. Right now, you are likely focused on one thing: getting your money back. While it is very difficult to get your money back after a scam, there are things you can do to increase your chances of recouping your losses.

STEP #1: Take Immediate Action (Prevent Further Impact)
In responding to the loss or theft of money, time is of the essence. This means you have one thing to do right now: Contact your payment provider as soon as you can and report the theft or loss.

When you contact them:

  • Be sure to use an official contact method, such as the phone number on the back of your credit card, on your statement, or the one listed on your account dashboard.
  • Place a freeze on that account if funds were illegally accessed from a bank or credit card account. You can do this on the phone with an official representative from the bank or credit card company.

If you paid by gift card, you must act fast. According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you’ve been the victim of a gift card scam, you must do the following:

  1. Report the scam to the gift card company.
  2. Ask for your money back.

STEP #2: Warn Others (Report a Scam)

Good job on taking the first steps to control the situation. We recommend taking a few moments to report the scam, which can help us fight fraud. Please consider reporting the incident you encountered to BBB Scam Tracker, our prevention and reporting platform. Reporting the scam to the proper channels can help law enforcement shut down scam operations that prey on others. BBB shares all scam reports with the FTC, and we publish key information from the reports, enabling the public to determine if they are being targeted. Learn more about BBB Scam Tracker.


STEP #3: Take Important Next Steps to Recover

Thank you for reporting the scam! The next steps you need to take will vary depending on your personal situation. We have outlined some important ways you can maintain stability after the loss or theft of your money:


STEP #4: Avoid Future Scams (Learn How)

Research indicates that knowledge about scams and scam tactics can help people spot and avoid scams that will inevitably target them. The unfortunate truth is that scammers will always try to steal data, money, and important information from people, and that even when scammers are caught, others will replace them. The best defense, then, is to understand what a scam looks like and how to respond. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning more about scam types and tactics. Visit BBB’s Scam Prevention Guide.  

Beware of scammers who promise to get your money back! Scammers will often contact you after you’ve already lost money and make promises to retrieve your funds, but only if you pay an up-front fee first. Learn more about these scams.

More Resources

The following resources can help guide you in scam education, response, and reporting:

Canadian residents