If you have already fallen victim to identity theft or fraud, then you will understand how upsetting it can be. Criminals can run up huge debts in your name, which can affect your credit score. If you do not take the appropriate actions this can have a long lasting impact on your ability to get all types of credit, including a mortgage, a loan, a new credit card and even a new mobile phone contract! Therefore, it is important that you take the right steps if you find out that you have been the victim of any identity crime.
Money stolen from your bank account
If money has been stolen from your bank account, then it is normally possible to get this money back, unless the bank shows that the fraud was able to occur because you knowingly allowed it to continue. Banks rarely cite this defence in their favour, because it can be difficult to prove.
The Payment Services Regulations legislation states that banks must return money to you straight away if you can show that it was taken from your account without permission. However, you may be liable for up to £50 that was taken from your account if it was taken before you notified your bank or building society. You will not be liable for any losses which were made after the bank was notified of the issue, unless it can be proven that you were directly responsible for the loss.
The refund will be delayed if the bank has grounds to believe that the fraud was committed on your behalf or if you were complicit in the crime. If you are not found to be at fault then the bank must put your account back into the state that it could have been in if you had not been affected by the fraud. This means that they must reimburse any interest which has been lost and refund any charges which may have been applied to the account because of the fraud, such as overdraft fees.
Money stolen from your credit card
If any of the money that was taken from you as part of the identity fraud was taken from a credit account, then the Payment Services Regulations legislation and the Consumer Credit Act are both applied. According to this legislation, a cardholder or an account holder may be liable for the first £50 which was spent fraudulently, however many banks and building societies are willing to waive this cost. Your credit provider will let you know whether they intend to give you a full refund or whether you will be expected to shoulder the first £50.
You must make your account provider aware of the problem as soon as you suspect that unauthorised activities may be occurring on your account. Once you have notified them, you will not be liable for any further money that is spent on that card using your details, unless they can prove that the fraud occurred because of gross negligence on your part, because you were complicit in the crime, or because the crime was committed to benefit you.
If you have fallen victim to any other type of scam involving your identity, and it was you who personally authorised the transaction, then it can be a little bit harder to claim your money back. For example if you paid money into a fake Paypal account, or if you transferred money to a fake ticket provider, then it can be harder to claim your money back.
If you spent over £100 on your credit card, then you should be able to claim the money back from your credit card provider, as per the terms of the Consumer Credit Act. If the payment was made on a debit card then you are unlikely to be covered, although some debit card providers do offer limited protection. You should of course get in contact with your card provider to see if they can help at all.
Regardless of which method of payment you authorised the transaction to come from, you should always contact your card provider as soon as possible to allow them to prevent other payments from being taken without your authorisation.