How to get your money back from an internet scam

Written by ehow contributor
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No one likes being ripped off from an Internet scam. In most such cases an individual buys a product or service from someone on the other end of the Internet and that individual never receives the product or service. The steps you take next will determine whether you get your money back.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Gather all electronic transmissions and/or documentation between you and the seller. If you incurred any expenses up to this point, make sure you have proof of all expenses as well. Be sure to keep these items in a secure place, as you may need them during your efforts to retrieve your money.

  2. 2

    Contact PayPal, your credit card company, your bank or whichever entity you utilized to purchase the product. If you used your credit card, contact your financial institution letting the representatives know what has transpired. Be sure to get and keep a copy of the statement that shows the transaction. Document what is said and when. If you used PayPal, they will help you with a dispute against the seller. There are steps that can be followed to freeze current assets of the seller. Go to to find out whom to contact and how.

  3. 3

    Touch base with the site that advertised the item. This could be eBay, a newspaper classified ad or Craigslist. Again, be sure and document the contact and record any information given. Follow any and all instructions given. In the instance of eBay, they will be able to give you demographic information. Get as much information as the advertiser is willing to provide regarding the seller for your records.

  4. 4

    Continue to contact the seller via email. Even if you get no response, the seller will know that you are pursuing the matter. Do not attempt contact the person in person or by phone. Refrain from being belligerent or using curse words. Continue to document any contact made or received.

  5. 5

    Call your local law enforcement agency and the law enforcement agency overseeing the area of the seller. File a report. Keep in mind that they may or may not do anything. But at least a report will be filed. Be sure to get a copy of the report to keep with your other documentation regarding the fraud.

  6. 6

    Be patient and be cautious. It may take weeks or even months for an investigation to be completed.

  7. 7

    File a claim against the person or company behind the Internet scam. Do this with your state attorney general's office. You should also hire an attorney to file a civil lawsuit against the Internet scam person or company, if none of the other steps have retrieved your money.

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