Halifax refuses to repay £10k to fraud victim

Halifax refuses to repay £10k to fraud victim
Martin Pechy via Pexels

A young woman scammed out of £10,000 in savings has been told she will not be compensated by Halifax Bank.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, has been a customer with Halifax for five years but has said she will switch banks because of her poor experience when reporting that she had been the victim of a clever authorised push payment scam.

The customer, known as Ms E, received an automated call from what she believed was HM Revenue & Customs on March 3 this year, saying her national insurance number had been compromised.

The call and details given to her seemed genuine; she pressed '1' when prompted and then was given a case reference number and handed to a 'senior HMRC officer'.

The fake officer said her NI number had been cloned by a money laundering suspect in Wales, and the fraudster frightened Ms E into "clearing her name and preventing her bank accounts from being frozen" under anti-money laundering regulations.

She was told she had to "follow his instructions to the letter and he warned me that if I tried to involve anyone else in the conversation they would be taken to court with me".

Ms E, who said she was still distracted by the sudden hospitalisation of her grandmother two days earlier, said she was "terrified" and put under a "lot of pressure" to set up a payment and send £9,970 to a 'safe' HSBC account under a different name.

The details of this scam account were:

Name: Baskaran Palanisamy

Sort code: 40-45-32

Account number: 71560115

The scammer urged her to bypass the warnings that appeared on her computer screen when she proceeded to make the transfer and sent her a letter on WhatsApp to confirm that her national insurance number had been suspended.

She said: "As soon as I saw that letter, I realised I was being scammed. I immediately called the police, but they told me to call the bank first, and then Action Fraud.

"I tried to call Halifax but got cut off after 15 minutes. I called again and was kept on hold for at least two more hours.

"As time was passing by, I started to fear no one would ever pick up the phone, so, desperate, I ran to the bank to see if I could speak to someone in person and revert the payment.

"When I got there in tears, and finally managed to be seen by a bank representative, an agent from the fraud department answered the phone and let me explain what happened."

She said Halifax did not freeze the payment or call her to investigate why she was making such an unusually large transaction.

Nor did she receive any alert messages or warnings to her phone, which could have helped her realise it was a scam.