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Understanding Recovery Scams

Scammers will often try to get back in touch with their past victims, or new scammers will emerge to trick them into paying money for a recovery service. They pretend to be freelance computer experts or pretend to work for a recovery company or government entity. If someone unexpectedly contacts you, offering to recover your money, it will be a scam.

It’s safest to ignore any unexpected calls, letters, or emails from unknown people or companies who say they can get your money back.  If you pay them, you’ll lose more money. 

How do Recovery Scams work?

  • First Contact: After someone has lost money in a scam, the fraudsters keep your contact information (e.g. email address or phone number) and then contact you again.
    • Sometimes victims will reach out to a ‘recovery specialist' through a website or social media, these are also scams.
  • Convincing Story: They try to create a believable story by claiming they are a law enforcement agency or a private company and that they have your details and know about your financial loss.
  • Advance Fee Fraud: They ask for money upfront, often calling it a ‘processing fee’ or ‘administrative charge.’ Genuine agencies never charge upfront fees.
  • Repeated Requests: If you pay, they may come back with additional demands for more fees, each time with a new excuse.
  • Personal Information Theft: They may ask for your bank details to transfer recovered funds, but actually use this information to steal more money from your account.

Spot the Signs

If someone has got in touch unexpectedly about recovering money, this will be a scam.  If you do receive information from them and want confirmation, here are some other things to check:

  • Unexpected Fees: If someone contacts you and asks for an upfront fee, it's a scam. No legitimate organisation will ask for money upfront to help recover your funds.
  • Webmail Addresses: Genuine government or law enforcement agencies and businesses do not use web-based email addresses like @gmail or @Hotmail.
  • Official-Sounding Language: Scammers may use official-sounding language and graphics to make their emails look legitimate.
  • Government and International Agencies: genuine agencies and organisations will never ask for payment or personal information to assist with recovery.

How to Avoid Recovery Scams

  • Don’t Trust Unexpected Messages or Correspondence: Ignore calls, letters, emails, texts, or social media messages from someone claiming they can recover money for a fee.
  • No Upfront Payment: Never pay someone before they have done any work. And do not provide personal or financial information.
  • Payment Methods: Scammers often insist on particular payment methods like cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfers. Legitimate organisations will not demand payment by these methods.
  • Requests for Sensitive Information: it’s safest to be very wary of anyone asking for passwords, private keys, or remote access to your devices.

Remember anyone offering to recover funds for you is illegitimate, if you have lost funds you should contact the Isle of Man Constabulary which can be done through our Cyber Concerns form and selecting the option to be passed onto the Police.  


Reporting and Recovery

  • Cyber Security Centre: If you suspect a recovery scam, report it to the Cyber Security Centre using our online form or by telephoning 686060.
  • Bank: If you’ve given scammers your bank account details, contact your bank immediately.


This page was last updated 12/06/2024.