Consumer complains after a fraudster tricks her into transferring funds from her bank account

Banking Fraud and scams Distress and inconvenience Up to £750

When Anna realised she'd been tricked into sending thousands of pounds to a fraudster, she told her bank she'd been a victim of fraud. But when her bank said it wasn’t responsible, she came to us for help.

What happened

Anna contacted her bank after realising she’d fallen victim to an authorised push payment scam. A fraudster, pretending to be her bank, had tricked Anna into sending £14,500 to what she thought was a safe account but was actually an account controlled by the fraudster. Anna transferred the whole of her current account balance to the fraudster – in essence the payment cleared her account.

Anna was unable to resolve the complaint with her bank as it felt it wasn’t liable as she authorised the payment. This left Anna feeling like she was to blame. She was also embarrassed as she’d had to borrow money from friends and family in order to pay her rent and bills. She was left feeling really frustrated and worried about having to repay the money. She’d also been left suffering with anxiety and struggles to trust other people after what happened to her. The whole situation went on for several months and had a big impact on Anna’s day to day life. She told the bank she felt like everything was on hold and had been struggling to sleep at night. 

What we said

We were persuaded Anna had been the victim of an authorised push payment scam. We thought that when Anna requested the payment her bank ought to have been concerned that Anna was at risk of financial harm from fraud. We thought the bank ought to have spotted this and made enquiries about the payment before processing it. Had it done so, we thought the bank could’ve prevented the loss. We asked the bank to refund the money to Anna, so she was put back in the position she would have been in had the fraudulent activity not taken place.

We recognised there was an emotional impact on Anna as a result of the way the bank handled things – and it could have prevented the situation escalating. This caused several months of worry, leading to sleepless nights for Anna. In considering what is fair compensation we specifically thought about the impact of the bank’s actions, rather than the impact of the crime itself. We took into account that much of the distress and inconvenience Anna experienced was ultimately the actions of a fraudster. But we also recognised that the bank could’ve lessened the impact and so we recommended it pay Anna £500 in recognition of the distress and worry caused.