A key worker who became the victim of a £10,000 push scam has criticised HSBC's approach to dealing with her case, after being told she might not get her money back and having her account frozen.
The Yorkshire-based woman, who requested anonymity, said she was "duped" by a clever push scam in May, which targeted her just days after a bond had matured.
She expressed concern at having fallen for the ruse, and was dismayed by the coincidental timing of the scam. She told FTAdviser: "It was the first time in my life I had ever had so much money in my HSBC bank account."
When she reported it to HSBC, the first person she spoke with in HSBC's call centre said such authorised push payment scams were known to the bank, adding she probably "was unlikely to get her money back".
She was not given a reference number to take it further, and was told the operator had not decided whether to raise it as a case.
A few days later, after having called the APP scam team at HSBC and finally getting it confirmed as a case, she was sent a letter stating her account had been frozen, and she would be unable to pay any bills unless she drove 30 minutes to the nearest open branch.
The customer, who was left "crying in front of three different members of staff", said: "I had more stress to add to this sorry saga of HSBC.
"I had received a letter from them, obviously as a result of my initial reporting of this. It told me my online/mobile banking had been suspended as a result of the 'unusual activity' on my account and to ring a specific number to reactivate my access.
"I did so and was then told my telephone banking passcode had failed - no idea why, as I had used it with the scam team on Saturday and it was fine. I explained to the agent I was following the instructions of HSBC in how to reinstate my access; he said it could be suspended due to the investigation.
"I said it could not surely be right to leave me without access to my accounts for up to 15 days. He said the only way to reset this passcode was to go into a branch; there was no alternative."
She said the staff in branch were helpful "but it was just another instance of how HSBC have failed me as a customer".
The problems began on Tuesday 12 May, when the customer was called from a number that was the same as on the back of her HSBC debit card. The person on the phone asked her to check this for her own peace of mind.
They told her they had noticed someone in Aberdeen attempting to access her account, and took her through security questions. However, the customer said the scammers did not ask for the full security code - they knew it from just one number, nor did they need to be told her full date of birth - they already appeared to have it.