As official figures for bank scam are introduced, the shocking story of the Kent couple let down by Halifax puts the lay to any claims of victory against identity fraudsters
Crooks stealing a identity plus plundering the bank accounts are, at last, found on the run, states Financial Fraud Action UK, an industry body which collates financial crime figures. Fraud fell inside 2011 plus inside the initial half of 2012. However when the shocking story of Rod plus Linda Twiss is anything to go by, there continues to be an awful extended path to take. Their story raises thinking concerns regarding the standard of controls at Halifax, whose parent group, Lloyds, operates more present accounts than any different bank inside Britain.
The couple, that reside inside Kent, tell me they are prudent plus careful with their income. He’s retired, she’s a finance manager for a nearby fast. They have a shredder, plus take all of the routine procedures to safeguard themselves.
On 29 December, Halifax rang with bad information. Someone had tried to change the address about their Platinum card to 1 inside Birmingham. The couple confirmed it wasn’t them, plus, found on the bank’s information, cut up their cards secure inside the knowledge which Halifax might reissue the cards inside a some days. A nuisance nevertheless not a calamity.
Little did they realise the scale of the calamity that has been indeed going to hit. It has shaken their self-confidence inside Halifax to the core.
Despite the bank being aware of the scam attempt merely days earlier, about 4 January a girl posing because Mrs Twiss went into a Halifax branch inside Streatham, south London – not earlier visited by Mrs Twiss – plus ordered a new passbook for their Liquid Gold account, that the couple had not utilized for almost a decade. What ID did the fraudster employ to get the passbook? We nonetheless don’t learn, nevertheless clearly it evaded Halifax’s controls.
The fraudster then systematically cleaned out the couple’s savings accounts, stealing £12,460. He or she moved revenue from Mr plus Mrs Twiss’s Premier plus Instant savings accounts into the Liquid Gold account. They popped into a branch of the Halifax daily for five days, withdrawing £2,500 inside cash every time: initially, Balham, south London, then Chiswick, back south to Penge, plus then over to Croydon.
At no point were Mr plus Mrs Twiss approached for proof, inspite of the size of the withdrawals. How frequently have you heard from visitors prevented from starting or accessing their accounts considering super-strict funds laundering rules need numerous types of ID? Yet, inside this case, the fraudsters casually moved off with their loot.
When, about 13 January, Linda noticed the theft, Halifax did at minimum instantly accept it was scam plus, in 2 days, restored their cash balances. However, astonishingly, the matter didn’t rest there.
Remember the Platinum cards? Well, Halifax did reissue the cards – straight to the fraudster’s address inside Birmingham, handing him (or her) a £17,400 spending limit inside the couple’s name.
The initial the long-suffering couple knew was whenever Halifax’s debt collectors need repayment. The couple patiently explained they had not received the cards, plus obtained an apology from Halifax. However 1 week later the calls started again, this time from its call centre inside India, for failing, supposedly, to pay the Platinum card. The couple, battered plus harassed, have cut all connections with Halifax. Whenever you intervened, the bank upped its payment for strain plus inconvenience to £576. However how might it have let them down thus severely?
A Halifax spokesman said: “The individual whom fraudulently withdrew funds did answer the protection issues properly. Unfortunately, mistakes were prepared about the behalf for issuing the new cards, plus you are sorry for the difficulties this has caused. We take customer safety truly really, plus you have strict controls to confirm any unusual or possibly fraudulent activity is flagged plus responded to.”
Mr plus Mrs Twiss greeted this with a hollow laugh. Next week, because official figures for scam inside 2012 are introduced, perhaps the banks may proclaim another victory inside the battle from the fraudsters. However are they losing the war?
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