‘We handed over £285k to scammers – why didn’t Halifax try to stop us?’
26 Jan 2021

Higher earners could be at greater risk of fraud because banks are less likely to notice if they are being scammed, a fraud expert has warned.

Telegraph Money has won back £50,000 for two readers after their bank, Halifax, failed to detect they had been victims of fraud.

Banks try to block payments that look unusual. But this means when customers who regularly transfer large sums of money fall victim to a scam, this can be missed by their bank’s fraud systems.

Henry Gardiner and his partner, Dianna Morris, whose names have been changed, lost £285,000 when they fell for an investment scam last April. The couple transferred the money in three batches – two from Mr Gardiner’s bank account and one from Ms Morris’s – yet only one of these transactions was blocked by their bank, Halifax.

Under the rules of a code of conduct that all the major high street players have signed up to, banks must try to stop payments that look suspicious by warning customers they may be facing a scam.

Halifax blocked Mr Gardiner’s first payment, of £185,000. He then had to confirm via a phone call that he wished to go through with the transaction. However, the second £50,000 sum that Mr Gardiner transferred did not trigger a phone call, even though this was to a different account number that the fraudster had given him. The bank did not block Ms Morris’s transfer to the scammers either.

At first, Halifax refused to reimburse either. However, after intervention by this newspaper, the bank agreed to refund Ms Morris her £50,000, admitting that it could have done more to protect her. It said that this activity was out of character for her.

By Marianna Hunt, The Telegraph, 25 January 2021

Read more at The Telegraph

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