Scams  

Relief for HSBC customer scammed out of £14k

Relief for HSBC customer scammed out of £14k
Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg via Fotoware

A woman who had £14,100 stolen from her HSBC savings in March after an authorised push payment scam has finally had a full refund.

Mrs C, who is in her 60s, had also recently separated from her husband of 37 years, and told FTAdviser she had been trying to cope with carrying out social work over the past 12 months.

The customer, who has worked as a children's protection officer throughout the Covid-19 crisis, said her stressful role, combined with her self-confessed lack of technological savvy and the breakdown of her marriage, meant she was in an exceptionally vulnerable position.

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She had been away with work and had been expecting a parcel, so when she saw a text purporting to be from a courier firm, she clicked on the link.

Within a few hours, a man pretending to be from the bank called her and said: "Mrs C, that text was a scam, the scammers have used this as a hook. While they were pretending to be protecting me, they were actually scamming me."

So when an authoritative, knowledgeable and trustworthy-sounding person called her out of the blue, claiming he had flagged suspicious activity on her account, her first instinct was to believe him.

She said: "Even down to the hold music they used; everything seemed so detailed and the fact he arranged someone to call me later sounded so plausible.

"The worst of it was, throughout the phone call, by way of increasing the urgency and the panic in me, they kept referring to 'direct debit' notifications they were getting.

"I was so shocked. I couldn't stop crying for days about it."

But when she spoke with her son shortly after the call, he realised his mother had fallen victim to an authorised push payment scam - similar to the ones FTAdviser has written about over the past 12 months as part of our focus on financial vulnerability.

She contacted HSBC on March 31 and reported the fraud, but was concerned she would not get her money back.

FTAdviser has reported on cases where banks have only refunded half or next to nothing of their customers' money after they fell victim to similar APP scams.  

Indeed, as banks have been putting increased warnings in place when people make transfers, there is an onus on the consumer to take responsibility for verifying the identity of callers, and not to proceed with a transfer.

Her son contacted FTAdviser, and we directed him towards template complaint letters from Which, and advised him to set out the full details to HSBC, to help the bank make a full investigation and to assess her case with full understanding of her vulnerabilities.