'Felt so sick!' Couple devastated as they lose thousands in home deposit to scammers


On BBCs Rip Off Britain, Ellie and Tom explained how they became victim to this type of fraud and lost their home deposit. Scammers had intercepted the emails between the couple and their solicitors when they were buying their first home together.

By failing to take heed of this message, Ellie and Tom had “ignored clear and effective warnings” and didn’t take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe, the bank said.

The confirmation of payee warning tells people if the details of the account they are sending money to does not match the information at record in the bank.

However, Ellie didn’t believe the banks onscreen warning was not adequate.

“If the word scam had been used in the warning, then I wouldn’t have transferred the money.”

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Fortunately, Ellie and Tom were able to claim their money back after reporting their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service who found in their favour, ordering the bank to refund them their money with interest and compensation.

Some critics have explained that this is a rare case as only 42 percent of these bank transfer scams victims retrieve their money.

Bank transfer scams, also known as Authorised Push Payment fraud increased an astonishing 71 percent during the first half of 2021 to £355 million.

Paul Maskall, Manager for Fraud and Cybercrime Prevention at UK Finance, explained: “In the first half of the year, we have lost £754million to fraud.

“The case is this is having a devasting impact on the population.

“It’s mental health, it’s the impact that is catastrophic with the amount of money that is being lost but what it’s actually putting people through at each of these times depending on what scams people are being exposed to.”

The main problem is that these scammers have diversified their portfolios in the last 18 months, Mr Maskall suggested.

He said: “They’ve moved even more so to this type of grooming, coercion, manipulation and the type of social engineering.

“The problem is the banks are often the last people to know that you’ve been the victim of fraud because with Authorised Push Payment, you are the one authorising the payment.”

Mr Maskall gave advice to viewers about the ways to prevent being a victim to all types of fraud.

He explained people should trust their intuitions in situations that don’t seem right.

These types of frauds are meant to “counter your gut” so each person is advised to “stop, challenge and protect”.

If people think they are encountering a scam, it probably is one, and thus Mr Maskall concluded by urging Britons to challenge the correspondence they receive and contact their bank in order to protect themselves.



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