Opinion 

When security becomes interference

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

Has security gone mad?

I recently wanted to transfer a large sum of money from my business bank account. Recognising this amount might trigger an alert, I rang the bank to explain what I wanted to do.

I was advised that I should send a signed letter on headed notepaper by email to the Chaps [Clearing House Automated Payment System] team and the transfer would be made. 

As this transfer was important and had to be made on a certain day while I was away, I asked if there was anything else I needed to do to ensure there would be no hiccups. I was firmly advised that was all was required. 

On the day when the money was to be transferred and while I was in the queue to board my flight, I received a call from the bank’s fraud department. They wanted to know if I really wanted to make this transfer, where and how I obtained the bank details, then had to give my personal details and security identity to the caller so everyone could overhear.

Having calmed down over that (it took a few days), I realised a standing order I had sent to the bank on April 26 had not been paid by May 9. I then received a letter from the bank, with a copy of it asking me if it was genuine. It was clearly signed by me and admittedly it was for more than £5,000 but even so, the instruction was clear. 

I then spent the next hour and a half trying to sort this out as they could find no record of the order I had sent of which they had sent me a copy, until finally the payment was made. But before then I had to give details of a direct debit mandate on the account, the number of the last statement I had received and so on.

To add to my woes, I went through a similar experience with O2, who had messed up my phone contract.

I’m all for security, especially with scams and hackers running amok, but now it seems so excessive that it only serves the provider and not the consumer.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth