Santander scam warning as man loses £65,000 in APP fraud | Personal Finance | Finance

One morning in February while Paul Chase, 72, of Prenton was at work, he received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the fraud department in Santander. This man then told Paul that he had identified some suspicious activity on his debit card. The alleged Santander representative identified himself as “Clive” and told Paul that before he could start the conversation, he should ask him some questions about his account. These questions consisted of Paul confirming his date of birth, the first and third numbers of his password, and some examples of recent direct debits.

Paul said the man sounded “professional” and that he was “patient and understanding” when it came to Paul’s understanding of technology and that he was given no reason to doubt “that he was not who he said he was. not “therefore cooperated.

Paul was informed that payment of more than £ 300 had been attempted on Amazon and after confirming that it was not him, Paul was asked if he had recently received an SMS from Royal Mail.

He told “I then remembered that I had received a message from Royal Mail a few days earlier and I had filled in the details to pay the delivery fee, but I did not think anything of it as I was not waiting for a package from America.

“Now, looking back, I know that was where the scam started.”

Clive then moved the scam up another notch and told Paul there was a “sinister development”. He said there was an attempt in a local branch to move £ 25,000 from Paul’s account to a construction company.

Clive then identified Paul’s local branch by adding pieces of information that strengthened his character as a Santander employee.

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Paul said: “He told me which branches in my area were permanently closed and which were open. It was all subliminal confirmation, I could not doubt that he was really from Santander, because who would know such things immediately except a Santander employee? ”

“Clive” started building scenarios to scare Paul, he suggested that his passport might have been stolen and instructed Paul to drive to his house and check.

Paul said: “I was anxious, I was stressed, what was threatened was my life savings, my security pillow that I worked very hard all my life to put away to supplement my pension when I could not or did not want to. to work more.

“Anything that could threaten it upset me, made my adrenaline pump. I would have stopped it and I would have done anything about it. “

Clive then told Paul that he had access to the circuit television of the Santander branch and started sharing an extensive back story to try to scare Paul further.

He told Paul Santander had actually launched an internal investigation into this site as there had been 14 attempts in the past month to fraudulently move large sums of money through this branch.


According to Clive, Santander suspected that the branch staff was involved in a gang smuggling and that they needed Paul’s help to try to find out who was colluding at the bank.

Clive persuaded Paul to make three transfers totaling £ 65,000 to three dummy accounts and as Paul did, Clive told him what to say to the verification officer who would authorize the payments.

Paul said: “He told me that if they acted properly, they would bring to my attention the failed attempt to remove £ 25,000 from my account earlier that morning. If they did not mention it, then they were clearly in the scam. “

After moving his money, Clive told Paul that he had helped identify three individuals at the branch involved in the scam and that police would call him later that evening to give an explanation of the events.

Paul agreed to do so, but never heard back from Clive and also did not receive a call from the police. It was then that Paul began to suspect that he had been deceived and reported it to Santander’s official fraud department.

Paul said: “They played on my anxiety and this whole experience made me feel violated. It’s honestly like someone took control of my brain.

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“I have to take my hat off to these guys because they really worked it out, I was manipulated, my insecurities were manipulated, and my age and lack of knowledge with everything digital was really exploited and they were successful in trying me. isolate, make me panic. ”

After Paul reported the scam, Santander initially refused to refund the entire amount stolen as Paul authorized the payments.

Santander said they did not give Paul an “impact warning” for the first payment, but said Paul should have done more to establish that he had spoken to the bank and that the debt in this case was 50 / 50 was.

As a result, they originally said they would only repay half of the first £ 25,000 payment.

They then stated that “sufficient warning” had been given for the further two payments and they were not entitled to repay it.

Paul said, “I could not believe it, I asked them, so shall I be blamed? There was no empathy from them and there was no understanding and I did not believe they were interested in solving what happened.

“I can only describe the level of empathy as similar to someone disconnecting a life support machine from the plug to charge their phone.

“I knew they would not help me, so I had to prepare myself for the fight. I first kicked up a fuss on Twitter and then I didn’t get much, so I went to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which was really incredible. “

Paul collected a detailed account of the event and provided it to the Service, a medical history that highlighted issues that highlighted the tension Paul was feeling, and a psychological report that highlighted how vulnerable he was in this situation. .

A few weeks later, after several lengthy discussions with the Service, they confirmed to Paul that his appeal had been successful and that Santander would repay the entire £ 65,000 lost, as well as compensation.

Paul said: “The feeling of relief was just, I can not even explain it. I was so grateful to the Ombudsman Service for their support because I could not have done it my own.

“I could not understand why Santander blamed me, the victim, you would not blame the victim of a robbery?”

Paul highlighted the increase in this type of scam and encouraged banks to take action to support people who are being targeted.

He added: “Banks have now all printed online and by doing so, they have created new opportunities for the most insensitive type of criminal and exposed them, especially their older customers, to a whole new world of risk.

“If they are going to do that, they have to stand behind their customers when the risk goes wrong.”

A Santander spokesperson said: “We have the greatest sympathy with Mr. Chase and for anyone who becomes the victim of the criminals who commit these scams. After receiving additional information about the client’s individual circumstances after the FOS review, we refunded the client in full.

“Protecting customers from fraud is a top priority for everyone at Santander. People should be informed that their bank, police or any other legal organization will never contact them and ask them to move money to a ‘safe account’. Even if the number looks real, it will not be.

“We invest heavily in prevention and detection and were one of the original participants in the conditional compensation model (CRM) code and continue to fully support its purpose. This year we have given a full or partial refund to customers in more than 95 percent of cases and 76 percent by value. ”

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