How to recover from a scam

How to identify a scam?

Learning how to identify a scam is vital to protect yourself from fraud. Criminals and scammers are always trying new ways to steal your money and personal information. Online fraud, phishing emails or calls from scammers are often:

  • Unexpected
  • Urgent
  • Asking for sensitive information

Fraudsters may contact you out of the blue posing to be your bank or a company you recognise.

Scammers try to pressure you into taking action quickly. Making you feel flustered and rushed is part of the scam. They might ask you to give out passwords, bank or card details or other personal information online or over the phone.

See a list of current online scams.

How to report a scam?

If you think you have been a victim of a scam email, report it to your bank or card provider as soon as possible. Do not open any attachments or click on links in emails or websites. For M&S Bank card owners:

  • Call 0345 900 0900
  • Report a suspicious email or website claiming to be M&S Bank by forwarding the message or URL to
  • Make a report to Action Fraud

If you have sent money to someone you suspect is not genuine, contact the police on 101.

How to protect yourself from scams

Never give out your passwords or PIN.

Scammers can also use things like your date of birth, address and mobile number to try and trick you, so it’s a good idea not to share these on social media.

Scams or a phishing email often contain spelling errors, or come from an address which isn’t right. Always double check if in doubt. If something doesn’t feel right, take your time and stay calm.

Find out more about protecting yourself from scams.

What are the most common scams

It’s a good idea to regularly check scamming examples and latest scams to make sure you’re on your guard.

There are always new types of online scams to look out for. Criminals may pose as bogus charities. Some pretend to be someone else online to start a relationship, then ask you for money.

Scammers also exploit the current cost of living crisis, posing as energy companies offering cut-price deals, or fake refunds.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it might be a scam.

How to recover emotionally from a scam

If you’ve been a victim of a scam, it’s normal to feel upset. It’s very easy to feel vulnerable, anxious and even ashamed that you have been tricked. Unfortunately, it happens to a lot of people, and it can have a big effect on your mental health.

Talking to a trusted friend about how you feel can help. Independent charity Victim Support also offer a confidential helpline on 08 08 16 89 111.

It helps to focus on what you can do rather than dwell on what has happened. You can also take steps to protect yourself from future scams.

If you have been affected by a scam, or are worried about your finances because of financial abuse, there is a lot of support available.


Should I contact the police after being scammed?

If you have been scammed, contact the police using the 101 number and report it to Action Fraud

What information should I gather to help with the recovery process?

Keep a detailed record of what happened with the scam. Keep all relevant dates and information easily to hand.

Should I hire a lawyer to help with the recovery process?

Talk to your bank first. They will be able to advise you what to do next.

What should I do if the scammer contacts me again?

Do not engage with them. Hang up or close your browser and contact your bank immediately.

What are my options if I can't recover my losses?

Contact your bank if you’re worried about your finances. There is help and support available.

How can I help others avoid being scammed?

Share what you know about current scams and online fraud with friends and family to help keep them safe.

Published July 2023