Victim of complex push scam repaid just 50% by HSBC

Victim of complex push scam repaid just 50% by HSBC

A man who fell prey to a bank scam that raided his Help-to-Buy Isa has had just half of his money restored to his account.

The victim, M, who has been a client of HSBC for 18 years, contacted FTAdviser in March seeking help after being scammed out of nearly £10,000.

He said he had been waiting weeks to hear back from HSBC's fraud team following his complaint to them on February 20, in which he explained how scammers had cleaned out his savings in a clever, three-stage process.

On February 13, he received a text purporting to be from Virgin, stating that his billing details needed to be updated.

He said: "I suspected I may have deleted a direct debit for my Virgin contract on my online banking. At this point, I had no reason to believe this message was not legit. The site I was sent to was exactly the same as the Virgin media website and proceeded to update my details."

However he said his suspicions were raised when he saw how detailed the questions were getting. He said: "I called HSBC straight away to block and cancel my card due to fraudulent activity. At this point it was explained by customer service that a new card will be sent out."

On February 19, he received a call from what he later realised was a cloned HSBC number.

The scammer said M's account had been part of fraudulent activity, with someone attempting to set up an insurance and Virgin Mobile account under his name.

The caller said they would set up a safe account for him to transfer his money into. He said: "The process by which they conducted the case gave me no reason to suggest this was not legitimate, especially as they knew basic information about my account and said all the things I would expect from a professional."

He transferred £5,600 into the safe account and was told his bank would call him tomorrow with a safe code. The next day, a further £4,300 was deposited.

But when he did not get a follow-up call on February 20, he phoned the real HSBC and a customer service operator said there had been no such conversation. After 90 minutes on hold with HSBC customer service, he was cut off.

"I called back, waited 40 minutes and then was told they had to speak with the fraud team." He said he was told he would be sent an email.

On February 21 he called HSBC's fraud team again, after contacting Action Fraud for help, only to discover a third withdrawal had been attempted, this time totalling £3,400.

His card was blocked and an official investigation was begun that day. The £3,400 withdrawal was stopped and refunded to him on that day.

Twenty days later, having heard nothing, M contacted FTAdviser for help.