Many people feel so embarrassed and upset when they find themselves a victim of a financial scam that they do not report it or mention it to anyone.  Many people feel that they have been complicit in their own losses. 

The feeling that they have been naive and easily fooled and worse still, to have lost money which seems to be unrecoverable, ensures that the secret of the mess they are in remains with them.   Clearly this is the very worst thing to do a) because the money can never be restored to them if they take no advice or action and b) the perpetrators will go on to cheat and deceive the next person.

Whilst it is extremely hard to acknowledge how easily a fraudster has managed to extract money from the trusting individual, which is far from being an unusual experience in the world of online trading.  The vast majority of people who find themselves targeted by fraudulent brokers have been cynically singled out by extremely skilled and deceptive criminals who are remarkably plausible and they should not feel that any part of the whole episode is their fault. 

The Times reports that a survey carried out by Barclays Bank has found that the vast majority of people who have been defrauded feel that the experience ranks higher than almost all other embarrassing incidents that can happen.  The victims frequently using the words “stupid” and “angry” to describe how they feel.  As a result of these findings Barclays ran a series of “Embarrassing Fraud Clinics” in shopping centres and similar places, to give people the opportunity of discussing their concerns and also in the hope that the clinics may make some of the people who have been targeted feel less isolated and that they may realise that they were not the only ones and it can happen to anyone.

There is no shame in being deceived and it may be possible to retrieve some of the money you have lost.  The signs that your broker may have been scamming you could be if your broker refused to allow you to withdraw funds from your account when you made a request, or if all contact ceased when you decided not to trade any more.  Perhaps the broker offered to help you recover money with a “special” programme that required further investment or provided you with a form to re-mortgage your house if you did not have sufficient funds.  Should any of those situations apply to you the best thing to do is to take advice as to the best way to go about recovering your money.

Giambrone can offer the best advice as to the steps you can take once you recognise that you have been targeted by scammers. We can advise you as to what evidence you will need.  Once you have provided the verification required this will give you the best chance of recovering your money by demonstrating to the fraudsters that you have a sound case, with supporting evidence, which will succeed in court.  This may convince your former broker that it would be best to refund your money straight away.  If it does become necessary to go through the courts, you will have a strong case ready immediately.

Giambrone can assist with the first stage actions you should take:

  • Make a clear request for your money to be returned.
  • Should the firm fail to refund your money, cease all contact with the firm.
  • Most certainly do not send any more money to them, regardless of what is said to you. 
  • Keep copies of all correspondence, emails and text messages.
  • Keep copies of any loan applications, credit card applications that the fraudsters may have sent to you, regardless of whether you actually applied for either type of finance.
  • Any further attempts to contact you should be noted down in written records.

A further strategy can be devised, should this be necessary.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.