There is a saying that goes, ‘once beaten twice shy.' But when it comes to e-commerce, many of us haven’t even been beaten before, but we are shy. And we are right to be shy. As the acceptance of e-commerce continues to grow, so does the concern of the possibility of being defrauded. And even with payments and cyber-security innovations, this sad reality remains.
As innovations emerge, these fraudsters also come up with new ways to scam people. And they are so smart that they hardly leave a trace. Talking about it would have you thinking you must have been an idiot to fall for something like that. However, there is one link they can’t avoid. It is the payment link.
If you are asked to mail the money, then you should already know that something is wrong. If you make payment into a bank account then that is a strong link to your scammers. And there is a good chance you can get your money back if you take the following steps.
Your feelings don’t qualify as evidence. You need to prove that you had a business dealing with the scammer, and you paid. Take a screenshot of your conversation with the scammer, call records if you spoke on the phone. Also, the business details and account you paid into. If you can get the name of the vendor/ business owner, that would be very helpful too.
Check your transaction notification i.e. alert, and copy the transaction ID. It will help the bank confirm and trace the transaction. It is why you should not erase your transaction notifications immediately after you get them.
Report to the bank
You can send a mail containing the evidence and transaction details to your bank’s e-fraud department, the scammer's bank, and the CBN fraud desk. Instead of sending a mail, you can also visit the closest branch of your bank and report the transaction.
Report to the police
This is especially needed when there is a large sum of money involved. Report to the police and get a lawyer to obtain a court order. With a court order, the bank would release the details of the account owner to the police, who will then trace and apprehend the scammer.
What happens when you report?
When you report fraud at your bank, your bank will notify the scammer’s bank, and the account will be placed on hold. The person will not be able to do any transaction on the account except to fund the account. When the person enters the bank to rectify the ‘issue’ with their account or enters the bank to perform a transaction, the police will be notified, and the account owner, who hopefully is the scammer, will be arrested.