Financial Ombudsman Service  

HSBC in fraud dispute with student

HSBC in fraud dispute with student

A student has complained about HSBC to the Financial Ombudsman Service after losing thousands of pounds in a contested fraud case.

The student, who wished to remain anonymous, told FTAdviser the balance of his HSBC current and savings accounts, totalling £4,600, had been withdrawn by a fraudster in April.

A third transaction - a £2,000 withdrawal from the customer’s current account, after the sum had been internally transferred from their Help to Buy Isa - had been halted after HSBC contacted him before the withdrawal could take place.

However, the student said he did not receive a message or call from HSBC with regards to the first two withdrawals, which he reported as fraudulent on the afternoon of the transactions.

He said he was later told by a member of the bank’s fraud team that a text message had been sent to his mobile before the two transfers were made, and that his ‘Secure Key’ device, which generates a temporary code for customers to access their online and mobile banking, was used to generate the codes required to make the transfers.

But he said: "I had my phone with me the whole day as university was over so there was definitely nothing on HSBC's part."

He added he was told that an investigation would take place.

The following morning a member of staff in the bank’s fraud team contacted him after the investigation had been completed, telling him that HSBC believed the customer had made the transfers.

He said: "I struggled to really understand how firstly they manage to conclude [the investigation] in such short time and they failed to answer my questions on location of payment, on whether they tried contacting the payment beneficiary, but to no luck".

The customer added that he raised a complaint afterwards but received an online message two weeks later to say that his complaint had not been upheld. He has taken his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and has received a crime reference number from Action Fraud.

Describing his experience, the student said the bank had been "very unhelpful throughout the process".

HSBC contested whether the payments had been unauthorised.

A spokesperson said: “Following contact from the customer we have carried out a third review of this case and can confirm that all transactions were made from a device, IP address and the customer’s physical Secure Key device which are consistent with other transactions on the account which have not been disputed. As such we are relying on the authorisation provided for those transactions and not able to provide a refund.

“The customer is exercising his right for the case to be reviewed by the Financial Ombudsman and we await their verdict.

“During conversations with the customer he confirmed that he had not shared his details with anyone. Due to the multiple levels of security and the information the customer provided on the call, it is unlikely that his PIN and security details would be known by anybody who also had access to his Secure Key. The customer confirmed that… he hasn’t given any details to anyone else, and not received any suspicious emails or texts. There were also no failed attempts to log into internet banking.”