NatWest refuses to help fraud victim

21 August 2018

Moneywise helps a victim of banking fraud.

It distresses me to have to write again about victims of the ‘push-payment scam’, but after I helped one reader get £10,000 back from HSBC and Nationwide earlier this year, I was reasonably confident of helping JC of London.

He told me: “My bank account with NatWest was breached by a scammer, who subsequently managed to send £5,000 from my bank account fraudulently. The bank has deemed me responsible and negligent, which I believe is grossly unjust. 

"NatWest’s security systems were breached using very little data, allowing the scammer to effectively convince me they were the bank. Then, once all the funds I had, including a £2,000 overdraft, were withdrawn from my account, the bank didn’t raise this as a concern.”

JC reckoned NatWest, which is part of the RBS banking group, failed to protect him and other customers from the scam. “I feel let down that the bank has not done its job effectively, and now I am paying the price. Not only has all my money been taken, I now owe NatWest money for the overdrawn account. NatWest has refused to take any responsibility.”

I contacted the bank with the tale of woe only to end up as disappointed as JC had been.

A NatWest spokesperson told me: “We sympathise with JC and appreciate that this has been a very distressing experience for him.”

But, disappointingly, the bank refused to repay him his cash.

When I told JC the bad news, he replied: “That’s a shame. I totally appreciate that I could have been more vigilant. However, the reason I was put at ease was because the fraudsters were already able to see into my bank account and confirm some of my transactions.

“This was done before I had provided any information, therefore I believe NatWest was breached before the fraudsters had contacted me.”

When crooks are so clever, any of us could fall for their scams

That seems to be a reasonable conclusion, but NatWest felt otherwise and kept to its hard stance.

But the bank did offer some advice for all customers: “We would remind customers to remain vigilant against any type of scam. Customers should never divulge full security credentials at the request of someone over the phone purporting to be from their bank. At NatWest, we would never ask a customer to disclose full security credentials or ask them to move their money to keep it safe from scams or fraud.

“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. We would also recommend that they call back from their mobile phone or wait 30 seconds before calling back from their landline (if they do not have a different device).”

That’s all good advice, which is why I’ve published it in full. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s not good enough to pass the whole responsibility on to customers. Sure, we all need to be aware of scams, but when crooks are so clever, the fact is that any of us could fall for them and could end up losing thousands like JC.

In fact, there were 43,875 cases of push-payment fraud and total losses of £236 million last year, according to banking trade body UK Finance.

But the good news is that the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, is soon to force banks to provide victims with access to complaints arbitrator the Financial Ombudsman Service. That may seem small beer, but it means that soon victims will have a way to take their grievance further if their bank refuses to play fair with them.

That, sadly, won’t help JC, but it should help future victims. In the meantime, remain vigilant!

OUTCOME: NatWest refuses to help fraud victim


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My son got caught yesterday by this scam, he is not your usual target as a 35 year old intelligent individual he is beating himself up for being so stupid. However, as his phone network identified the call as being from "Nat West" despite being suspicious he felt secure that the calling number was the number on the back of his credit card.How can they do this and why haven't the bank or phone companies stopped this security breach. Surely somebody should take responsible for this and stop it, meanwhile these crooks get away with stealing millions from innocent individuals

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have just found a pending payment on my account and it has been unauthorised I have contacted NatWest and they won't help won't even stop payment tell me to contact payee who can't be contacted. Fraud is with NatWest they are supposed to look after our money and they don't what a scam

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Waiting on the phone to say my Mum has just been scammed on the phone for over 20 mins now - not good enough to report a fraud and save money taking possibilities.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

On Thursday 13 and Friday 14th I fell victim to a push payment scam and lost £19,971.qNat west deny all liabllity as they claim I was negligent. I know I did not give away pin or passwords to the scammers, they were already in, and had transferred funds between my accounts and re named them “closed “and “frozen “but saw on the news last Friday at 1pm a lady claim she thought their web site had been hacked as she was asked to renew her online password when she logged on to her online banking. This is exactly what happened to me the previous week on September 11th.Unlike the lady on the news I did however renew my password thus giving them access and enabling the fraud.I plan to go into branch with this tomorrow ( Monday ).Can you help in any way?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have to have some sympathy for the banks. If they routinely paid up when a customer "accidentaly" facilitated a scam then they themselves would be endlessly scammed by people facilitating fund "loss" to a co-conspirator and claiming it back from the banks.

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