Hi there, this very much appears to be a scam. Such types of scams, known as ‘advance-fee fraud’ are unfortunately extremely common these days and many unsuspecting people fall for them.
The best way to spot these is by identifying specific 'red flags' that are often present in the build-up to the scam. The following are the most common ones and if they sound familiar then you can almost guarantee you are involved in a scam:
• Someone contacts you and promises you a large sum of money. In this case it was in the form of a return for the initial ‘loan’ you were going to make. The promised return is frankly unrealistic and clearly aimed wt making this very attractive to you in order to entice you to part with your money, I mean, we are talking a three-fold return for nothing, this simply does not happen in genuine situations.
• Before you are able to receive the promised amount, you are asked to pay a sum of money for various reasons, which in this case was the amount for helping this mystery third party
• Tempted by the potential return, you pay the money in good faith. The usual request is for it to be sent via bank transfer, Western Union, Moneygram, prepaid cards, etc. These are the favoured payment methods used by fraudsters as it is extremely difficult to trace them that way and you also get no fraud protection.
• Once the money has been sent, the fraudster either stops all contact and the promised money never materializes, or they return and ask for further payments due to new unsuspected issues.
If you wish to report this, all scams can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300(###) ###-####or by visiting http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud. You may also report this to your local police station as they are capable of dealing with scam reports. This would be the only realistic ways to try and get the money back.
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