According to FTAdviser.com, a Halifax Bank customer that was scammed out of £10,000 in savings has been told she will not be compensated by Halifax.
The lady has been a customer of Halifax for 5 years and has said she will be leaving the bank after receiving a poor experience when she became a victim of an authorised push payment scam.
On the 3rd March 2021, the customer known as Ms E received a call from whom she thought and was led to believe was HM Revenue & Customs, who said her National Insurance number had been compromised.
When prompted Ms E pressed 1 and was given a case reference number and handed to a senior HMRC officer, which seemed genuine.
The fake officer and fraudster frigtended Ms E saying her NI number had been cloned by a suspected money launderer in Wales and follow the instructions in the letter to clear her name and prevent her bank accounts from being frozen under the anti-money laundering regulations and warned her not to involve anyone else or she would be taken to court.
Mrs E was terrified and still distracted by her grandmother being admitted to hospital 2 days earlier, set up a payment to a safe HSBC account which was under a different name and sent £9,970.
The account details of the scam were:
The scammer sent her a letter on WhatsApp to confirm that her NI number had been suspended and told her to bypass any warnings when proceeding to make the payment.
Halifax investigated the case and as she was alerted on screen when making the payment and made no attempt to verify the caller, Halifax will not be compensating her for the loss. They will also not be offering her an ex-gratia payment for the stress caused by trying and faling to get through to Halifax in the critical few hours after the transfer took place.
A spokespearson from the Halifax said: “We have a great deal of empathy for Ms E who sadly fell victim and helping our customers keep their money safe is our priority. We do fully review each individual case and unfortunately as no attempt to verify the call or the details of the payment which was stated as a ‘friends and family’ even when our systems triggered a warning on her online banking”.
Ms E has said she will be taking her complaint further with the Financial Ombudsman Service for an independent adjudication.
We have every sympathy for the lady but is this Halifax's fault? No. Is this the criminal's fault? Yes. Is this the fault of the bank that opened an account for the scammer? Maybe, unless that account was hacked too.
We appreciate it may be difficult to get through to financial institutions during lockdown and certainly, it can take our own staff anything between 1 hour and 3 hours to get through and even then, the person at the end of the line is useless.
That said, if somebody, who had told you not to mention the issue to anyone, then asked you to transfer £10,000 funds to an account in the name of "Baskaran Palanisamy", would the alarm bells start to 'jingle'? We think so. A more equitable position would be for Halifax, we think 40-45-32 is a sort code for HSBC and Ms E herself should each share the blame.