If you have fallen for a scam, stay calm and follow the steps outlined below to try and get your money back. Depending on the payment method and how fast you act, you may be able to get a full refund.
Before proceeding with the below steps, make sure to contact the merchant directly and request a resolution. If the company does not respond within 3-5 days or is unwilling to provide a full refund, you can try the below methods to get your money back.
Make sure to keep a record of all transactions and communications such as invoices, website screenshots, tracking details, emails and messages to build a strong case for yourself that you have indeed been scammed.
Marketplaces such as Amazon or Aliexpress have built-in mechanisms for dealing with cases of fraud. Raise a replacement or refund request through the platform itself and follow their procedure, which might include sharing pictures of the scam product.
For credit & debit card payments and PayPal transactions, you may be able to get a full refund.
If you paid using cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.), wire transfer or gift cards, sadly you have to accept that your money is gone as these transactions are virtually anonymous and irreversible.
Do not hire ‘chargeback’ or ‘money recovery’ companies as they often charge money for things you can do yourself for free, have low success rates and sometimes are scams themselves.
PayPal: Raise a Dispute in the Resolution Centre
For PayPal, you can first contact the merchant as they have the option to issue a refund from their end. You can request a refund up to 180 days after the purchase. If the seller refuses to issue a refund, you can raise a dispute in the Resolution Center.
Many scam victims have reported having greater success in receiving a refund after contacting PayPal via phone to explain the situation directly to a PayPal representative as they are aware of most types of scams.
A common tactic used by Chinese scammers is to demand that you ship the product back to China at your own cost, which will cost more than the product itself. Even if you do ship the item back, it is unlikely that you will receive a full refund. Instead, you can get a full refund if you complain to PayPal about the product being not as described and the Chinese origin not being disclosed.
Credit Card: Apply for a Chargeback
Credit card transactions are eligible for a chargeback. You have to act quickly as there is generally a window of 30-120 days after the transaction to apply for a chargeback and the process may differ as per your credit card network.
To initiate a chargeback, contact your bank or use the netbanking portal/app to dispute the credit card transaction.
Debit Card: Apply for a Refund
Debit card payments are trickier to reverse as the funds are immediately deducted from your account. Time is of the essence as the funds can only be recovered if they are still available in the scammer’s account.
Contact your bank as soon as you realise that you have been scammed and explain your case to them. Keep the transaction details handy and follow the process laid out by your bank. Sadly, it is possible with debit card payments that you may be denied a refund due to various reasons.