Scammers not only carefully plot out seductive scams, but also the best means to receive the consumer’s money. This article explains consumers’ legal remedies and options, which vary depending on the method used for the consumer’s payment. While scammers mostly use payment methods that leave people with little immediate recourse, consumers have options in some situations, and complaining quickly and widely may be the most important way of getting help. A simple resource for consumers who have been scammed is ReportFraud.FTC.gov.
The first two sections of this article summarize four payment methods that virtually announce that the transaction is a scam and others that wave a big red flag. Advocates should be familiar with these methods when helping clients, friends, or family. The article then turns to a discussion of legal rights and advice on getting money back for scammed consumers despite the consumer’s payment using those or other payment methods.
The legal discussion below is in some cases a simplification of more complicated rules, which may have exceptions or differences from the general rules described. With the exception of credit cards, all of the payment methods discussed below are discussed in much more detail in NCLC’s Consumer Banking and Payments Law.