I've been scammed in an online investment by wiring 10,000 USD to a mule account. I called my bank the same day to get it recalled. The beneficiary bank, Bank of America (BofA), asked for a police report a week after, which I provided my bank to give to them.

Then, two months later BofA replied. My bank was saying BofA can't get hold of the account holder so they can't do anything about it right now, even though it's a scam.

  1. What types of action can I take for the bank to do a recall?

  2. Is it true that my bank can't do anything?

  • 9
    What do you imagine they can do? Give you money because you made a mistake? Aug 24, 2020 at 17:45
  • 7
    But the bank didn't scam you - why should they be responsible for the money? You'll get it back if they can recover it.
    – D Stanley
    Aug 24, 2020 at 18:43
  • 7
    It's quite likely that the account at the beneficiary bank has already been drained of the money that you'd wired.
    – nikhil
    Aug 24, 2020 at 21:38
  • 4
    @kcount29 I am curious. What do you want the bank to do? Suppose the scammers somehow stole someone’s account, accepted your money into it, cleaned it out, and took off, what can the bank do to them? Aug 25, 2020 at 0:14
  • 8
    If a bank froze an account on any uncorroborated report, I doubt they would remain in business for long. God knows I don't want someone I was doing business with calling my bank and having them freeze my checking account. I understand this is an emotional time and issue, but unfortunately there is nothing to be done.
    – Thegs
    Aug 25, 2020 at 8:21

3 Answers 3


It is true - your bank can do nothing

You wired the money, then realized you'd been duped. It wasn't an unauthorized wire transfer. You authorized it. Things like and wire-transfers are designed so you cannot take it back.

Wire-transfers are not credit cards. Credit cards offer fraud protection to encourage use. Most of the time when you dispute a charge, the credit card company eats it because you're paying them 18% APR.

Never send money wire-transfer, Western-Union, or any other service that doesn't have a way to pull the money back.

The reason wire-transfers (and several other things) cannot be taken back is because the bank needs to act as a trusted 3rd party. Imagine if you sold a house and the buyer decided to "dispute" the payment.

EDIT - in response to comments.

Among other things in the links, this is important

the wire transfer is $50,000 or above

I'm sorry to keep giving you bad news, but your money is gone. These sites mention Western Union and Money Gram, both services used frequently by scammers.

Even if they could reverse the wire transfer, the money is likely long gone from the account. Who's gonna make up the difference?

Your Bank - Why would they, they were acting on your orders.

Receiving Bank - They got a legitimate wire transfer from your bank. Why would they take money from their customers to issue a refund on a legitimate transaction.

Scammer - Good luck tracking him down.

It hurts to hear, but you've just learned a $10,000 lesson. Scammers know how to take the money and run - it's their job. It sucks, but everyone on this site has lent money to a friend, or put it into an investment or business venture that went belly up. Sometimes you lose money for a dumb reason - that's life.

The best thing you can do is stop obsessing over it and move on. All the research and worry in the world won't bring it back.

Edit 2 - the bank employees did what you asked

From comments, it sounds like you're blaming the bank for your own bad decision. The bank employees are trying to be nice to you. The reason they don't seem interested is because they know what I (and everyone who upvoted) know - the money is gone.

They are not incompetent, they don't want to waste much time on a fruitless chase. Please be nice to them and work with them and law enforcement. That's the only way you'll see a cent returned to you (but don't count on it).

No amount of talking about SWIFT or anything else that Google tells you will change a thing

No one dressed up and impersonated you at the bank - you walked in and sent the money of your own free will. A few people got lucky and pulled the cash back before the account is emptied, you weren't one of them.

NOTE: The reason Google is giving you any hope at all is that wire transfers (especially international ones) aren't instantaneous. Usually, you have to wire it to a large/national bank, with instructions to wire it to the actual bank. Most of the time a human is involved and will only do this once or twice a day. Scammers know which national banks are automated and how to get their money fast.

  • I did some research about this: Source One: efraudprevention.net/home/templates/csb.aspx?a=203 Source Two: certifid.com/how-to-recover-from-wire-fraud/…. Most say if you "Detecting that you sent money to the wrong account within 24 hours is the best chance of recovering your money." I don't see how this is different than those real estate wire transfer scams when the money can be recall within 24 hours.
    – kcount29
    Aug 25, 2020 at 0:51
  • How did some people get the wire transfer recalled and some didn't with the foreign exchange market scam? Same scam as I, I was talking to another guy and he got a portion of his money back around 15%? He did the recall around 72 hours.
    – kcount29
    Aug 25, 2020 at 5:14
  • Also is amount was the same as mine $10K USD
    – kcount29
    Aug 25, 2020 at 5:28
  • 1
    The account was probably not totally cleaned out. They probably had several victims, and you were unlucky that your account was cleaned out first. Aug 25, 2020 at 13:02
  • 3
    @kcount29 re: the 24 hour window - it is quite possible for a bank to delay sending small customer wire payments until a batch file at the end of the day, and then it is also possible for a wire to take a couple of days to bounce around intermediate banks until it gets to its destination (depending on country in use etc.); in such a case, if you get to your bank before the wire payment is ultimately received by the ending bank, then yes some action may be possible by your bank to not 'reverse' the transaction, but rather 'cancel' it before it truly occurred. Aug 25, 2020 at 15:13

Interbank transfers

When you send money to an account at another bank, the operation is usually as follows:

  • The bank groups all transactions of this type, makes a "Batch" of this type and sends them.

  • These transfers have considerable costs so they are not made individually

  • Depending on the agility of the institution, number of transfers and the size of the bank, these "Batch" of shipments can be made once a day or every hour.

  • Once this batch is executed, the money is no longer in the hands of the bank and it no longer has control over it.

There are official communication channels between banks to notify complaints about scams and money laundering. But these complaints can only be confirmed by a representative of the law and only under his instructions can they take action.

So, the cases in which the transfer can be reversed:

  • It is while the bank has not yet processed the "Batch" where your transaction is.

  • The account at the receiving bank is already being monitored by other scams

  • Upon completion of the investigation and confirming the complaint as effective, the account is frozen and the receiving bank can return the remainder to those affected.

  • Take into account that in many cases the transfers come from different victims and all the institutions handle different return policies.

These types of transfers are equivalent to delivering the money in the recipient's hand. Most banks do not do anything other than facilitate delivery.


You know the bank account of the person you sent the money to. You can file a civil suit in a local court for fraud. As part of the suit, you can subpeona your bank to furnish the names, addresses and phone nos of the person. The you can serve the person at his/her address. I hope you have filed a police report for fraud. Statute of limitation for a civil suit is 2 years, 3 years for fraud in CA.

  • 1
    They can try this, but the bank account was likely opened under a false name / address
    – thelem
    Mar 16, 2021 at 22:35
  • 2
    (Or another victim.)
    – ceejayoz
    Sep 7, 2022 at 23:58

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