09 August 2017
How to beat the fraudsters at their own game
OK, here’s the problem:
You receive an email from your builder confirming his bank account details for the £20,000 deposit payment the two of you have been discussing by email. You action the payment. Then your builder calls you to say he’s received no money. You check with him what his bank account details are, but they different from those he sent you by email. You go cold. You have just been the subject of fraud. The fraudster hacked into your builder’s email account and impersonated him. Sadly, this is not a rare event anymore.
What happens next (apart from you feeling shock and anger)?
- The first thing you must do is call your own bank (and confirm in writing too) and tell them what has happened – speed is of the essence - this gives them the chance to try and claw back your payment from the fraudster’s bank account.
- Now you’ve done that don’t just sit back and wait for the money to come flooding back into your account. If you do you may well find there is a drought. Banks don’t always manage to claw back such payments even though you’d think they would have the ability to do so.
- You need to apply, very swiftly, to the Court for a freezing injunction, to freeze the bank account of the fraudster and ask for their bank statements and contact details – after all, you already have all their bank account details ! You’ll need to fill in the relevant Court form, pay a Court fee, and have available all your evidence for the judge to read (such as the emails to and from the fraudster and witness statements from you and the builder explaining what happened). If the judge is content that everything is in order you will get your injunction and you can then send it to the fraudster’s bank by email - they must then act upon it. If the money has not been moved you’ll get it back. It’s a time consuming process and therefore unless you do it on your own it will cost you money, so whether or not the process is worth it depends on your financial position, how much was lost, and whether or not you are prepared to let the fraudster get away with their scam.
Matthew Brandis and B P Collins’ Dispute Resolution group are experts at securing Court injunctions, (and the firm ranks highly on Google Reviews) and we are always willing to have a no-obligation conversation with you (01753 279 039) – all we’d say is don’t delay speaking to us.