Moneywise helps a reader whose father has been scammed
My father is in his 70s and has fallen victim to a push payment scam after criminals cleared his NatWest account of more than £30,000 plus a £3,000 overdraft. It has sent him into a downward spiral. NatWest is claiming it has no responsibility. However, I fail to see how setting up a new payee and transferring the entire balance to it has not triggered a fraud alert to verify the transaction. Specifically, I cannot see how there are not further controls and governance around its vulnerable customer base. It would seem that this scam is prolific within this age group. Have you any advice for us in this desperate situation?
I have been in touch with your father who has explained precisely what happened. I reckon many of us would have been tricked by this sophisticated fraud and I agree with you that the banks should do more to protect people against the crooks. The city watchdog, the FCA, also agrees and is introducing more stringent rules in April to make banks be more diligent and protect customers. That won’t help your father but the bank has agreed to take another look at the case, so I’m hopeful that they’ll use some common sense and play fair with him who, let’s remind ourselves, is a blameless victim.
In the meantime, the bank told me: “We sympathise with JS who has been the victim of a scam and appreciate that this has been a very distressing experience for him. We take our responsibilities to preventing scams very seriously and will always assist our customer in the recovery of their funds on a best endeavours basis.
“We are consistent in our education to customers to be vigilant when accepting calls claiming to be from their bank and we would never ask a customer to move money to another account to keep it safe from scams or fraud. We would remind our customers that they should never make a payment or divulge full security credentials at the request of someone over the phone. If a customer receives such a request, they should decline this and report it to their bank immediately on a phone number they can trust.”
That’s good advice that all readers should take note of. And if you have older relatives or friends, warn them about the fraud and to call anyone claiming to be from a bank using a trusted phone number from a different phone.
OUTCOME: Bank agrees to re-open fraud case
Simon Read is a a money writer and broadcaster. He was personal finance editor at The Independent and is an expert on BBC1’s Right On The Money