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OAP parent scammed - what can I do to protect them?

(22 Posts)
GreatWesternValkyrie Sat 19-May-18 17:37:45

Just found out that my parent (late 70s) has been scammed into transferring a sizeable chunk of money after being called by her ‘bank’ and advised a fraud had taken place on her account and to move it to other ‘secure’ accounts they’d set up and that needed to be in the name of someone she trusted (me!!!). Needless to say, it was an utter scumbag taking advantage of someone who naively trusted them.

Police and banks are involved now it’s been exposed but I wonder if any MNers might have experienc of something like this and could give advice on the following before I speak to the banks and police myself.

1. Has anyone had any success in getting any money back? The transfers were made to accounts that were purportedly set up with my name, so the transfer slips filled out by my parent in their own bank had my name on them as they payee as well as the account numbers and sort orders the sums were paid to. Wouldn’t a payment made to an account where the names don’t match (as the ‘secure’ accounts were obviously not really in my name) not raise a red flag to a bank as a potential issue e.g. money laundering.

2. I’m not keen to have power of attorney and control my parent’s account as they are fit and healthy both physically and mentally but I’m wondering if anyone might have experience of a set up where large transactions such as purchases and especially transfers might be able to trigger the need for a secondary authoriser (me) ....or something of that ilk.

I suspect recovery of this money is going to be difficult if not impossible as I don’t think these transfers have any kind of consumer protection attached to them, unlike credit card fraud.

I’m ping ponging between fury and upset that someone lowlife could do this and am also feeling like the banks involved have pretty much aided the fraud by seemingly having no safeguards in place.

Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.

somewhereovertherain Sun 20-May-18 08:57:09

Banks don’t check names against accounts

Unless you can catch the money during the transfer you’re fucked. bank will say they did it willingly so nothing can be recovered. There seems as massive flaw in all this at the minute and as a minimum the Banks should at least check the names against the account. Seems to be getting more and more common. Sorry can’t give you any useful help.

GreatWesternValkyrie Sun 20-May-18 18:40:29

Banks don’t check names against accounts

That’s the part that really frustrates me, they ask for the name, then appear not to check them anyway. Thanks for the reply Somewhere

marjorie25 Tue 22-May-18 01:22:09

I know that you don't want to have POA now, but I really think you should reconsider this.
What happened is just a warning and next time you might not be so lucky.
Also I think you should sign up for online banking on your parents accounts; this will allow you to to check their acct(s) every couple of days.
I have online banking and I love it, can check my account anytime, unless the bank is doing maintenance.
You might receive the money, but the bank will have to do a lot of research.

clownfaces Thu 24-May-18 17:27:31

Ask the bank if they are part of the banking protocol. It is a scheme set up between banks and police to try prevent these sorts of fraud. It is meant to work by the bank staff asking the person if someone has asked them to transfer the money etc.
If they are part of the scheme and failed to act, you may have some redress. I'm not an expert but it may be worth a try.
Good luck.

Pebble21uk Thu 24-May-18 18:29:48

I read about a case just the same as this on the Daily Fail online yesterday (--guilty as charged for reading this appalling site - my only defense is know thine enemy!!--) You might want to look that up. It made me warn my elderly parents about it as it sounded very convincing and plausible.

The woman in question was unfortunately unable to have the money recovered as it was seen as her giving the authorisation for the transfer of funds, not the bank. I think reimbursement may depend on individual banks, so it may depend on which they are with.

JustHereForThePooStories Thu 24-May-18 18:36:49

I’m not keen to have power of attorney and control my parent’s account as they are fit and healthy both physically and mentally

That’s not what POA is at all. It doesn’t give you control in the case of perfectly capable people. Where someone is incapacitated, it gives you the ability to make very limited decisions but you couldn’t, for example, decide to transfer all of their money to your account and spend it on a holiday.

That said, I don’t know what the solution is. I hope your parents get sorted and the scumbags are caught.

Mossend Thu 24-May-18 21:04:42

The bank only ask for a reference not the name on the account, some people put a ref some put the name but to be fair this is just for your records, so you can see where you sent the money.

I feel so sorry for your parents, these fraudsters are utter scumbags, really the lowest of the low.
I have to deal with the fall out of this daily at work and it is utterly heartbreaking. They are so convincing, I can fully understand how people fall for it. Even those that do question it and say they'll call their bank get scammed cause the fraudsters stay on the line, so when you think your talking to the bank your not you are actually talking to them.
It's an awful situation for your parents to find themselves in

Mossend Thu 24-May-18 21:08:03

Are you sure the account was in your name? If so they would have needed your id to open the account.
This may well help your parents as it isn't easy to open an account these days, if this has been done fraudulently this will become a criminal matter and there is a chance your parents will get their money back

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 01:11:03

Thanks all for the additional replies.

To answer a couple of questions...

No, I am quite certain these accounts were not in my name, it’s pretty clear that the scammer knew banking procedures and incorporated this bit into the story to make it seem more believable to their unsuspecting victim.

The bank staff did ask why they were transferring the money but again, the scumbag knew this procedure would happen and had coached on what to say. The scam was that it was an internal theft by a staff member at the branch so my parent was told not to tell the bank about the call and supposed ‘investigation’ into so as not to tip them off angry

Realistically, the money is long gone unfortunately. How do people live with themselves scamming an elderly widow out of her life savings - I can only hope that the police might catch them.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the banks involved to advise us of the outcome of their investigation but I imagine I’ll be having to tackle them. I won’t be letting it go, the banks could have stopped this with one simple name check - they need to do so much more to protect people who can’t rely on the protection afforded to internet and phone banking. Apparently the FCA and Which have been recommending that banks perform this name check for that last 2 years!!

Wish me luck!

Iflyaway Fri 25-May-18 01:21:52

Yea. Get POA.

hellsbells99 Fri 25-May-18 01:22:23

Sorry this has happened to your mother.
There is a similar story here

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 01:23:11

What happened is just a warning and next time you might not be so lucky.

I’m genuinely struggling to see where we have been lucky shock

MrsFezziwig Fri 25-May-18 01:28:08

Slightly peripheral to your main points but POA should absolutely be obtained when parents have capacity - it does not mean you control their finances, no-one can do that until they lose capacity, but you have it in place for when/if they do.

ElderflowerWaterIsDelish Fri 25-May-18 01:31:57

Thank you for posting his here and highlighting this scam, I've read in the local paper recently Scammers did similar to an elderly man..

I wouldn't let it drop..surely the bank can follow the trail from your mum's account to whatever account it's gone into and they can see who it's registered to...and they can put a freeze on withdrawals ...or if the money has been moved in from that account they can follow where to been moved to (and then freeze the money)...ask them to do that or ask the police to ask the bank to do that.

I hope your mother gets her money returned...these scammers are scumbags

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 01:39:22

Just read that story on the DM site, yes this was an authorised push payment fraud, lots of similarities to that poor woman’s experience.

Interestingly, the police told me that the accounts receiving the money might not have been fraudulently set up, apparently these scammers also gain access to the accounts of completely innocent people and use them as a conduit to receive and then move the funds. It’s certainly a much more sophisticated scam than I’ve ever seen before (I’ve had a few tries on me e.g. the “I’m from Microsoft, your pc has a virus” and the HMRC one).

I’m going to contact my MP, I’d be keen to know what political pressure, if any, could be brought to bear on this.

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 01:44:35

And thanks for the comments re POA, I’ll reconsider my thoughts on that.

Apparently the accounts in question were frozen one the fraud was uncovered, we’re expecting to hear more on this line of enquiry within the next 2 weeks.

Mossend Fri 25-May-18 09:32:01

The reason the banks don't check account details is 2 fold. One bank can't access another banks customer details on the system so couldn't confirm the acc holders name.
Secondly, customer confidentiality stops the bank from confirming this even if the accounts are held with the same bank. If the bank was to check the acc details matched a persons name they would be breaching that persons data protection/confidentiality. Even if they did not confirm the details to the caller by accepting the payment they would then be indicating to them the name and account details matched.
The banks are not allowed to confirm if someone else's holds an account with them to anyone else. There are very good reasons for this.

This does not in anyway take away from the fact the people who did this to your parent are utter scum. They sound liike a professional organisation rather than an opportunistic thief which will make it harder to trace the funds. I really hope there is a successful outcome here for you, these people make my blood boil

FemaleDilbert Fri 25-May-18 09:34:23

Can you have a joint bank account with your parents and then have it set so both ‘owners’ of the account need to authorise transfers? Is that possible?

JustbackfromBangkok Fri 25-May-18 14:47:28

I bank with First Direct and they are really good about checking large or unusual transfers.
They carry out careful security with both phone and on line banking and their call centre is in the UK.
I would recommend them wholeheartedly. Unlike
Santander who would not refund my son's money even when provided with cctv of him at knife point at the atm.

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 18:59:02

Mossend, I totally understand the points you make about data protection , but i can’t help feeling that, in reality, all the receiving bank would need to do is accept the funds if the payee name matches or reject them if they don’t, no need to confirm who the account holder is and breach any data regs. Frustratingly, the data protection safeguards are protecting the criminal the most.

They carry out careful security with both phone and on line banking and their call centre is in the UK.

It’s good to hear that you are happy with your bank Bangkok, I’m sorry to hear that your son was robbed in that way. In fairness to my Mum’s bank I think they are just as good with online banking and phone banking - it’s the lack of any checks on the account receiving the funds that is the real problem here, combined of course with the ‘skill’ and sheer audacity of the lowlife scammer.

It’s a recognised issue that I suspect the banks will be forced to address in the not distant future, I was reading that £100million has been stolen via these authorised push payment frauds in the last 12 months, so £2million every single day of the year. It’s utterly shocking.

GreatWesternValkyrie Fri 25-May-18 19:01:34

Sorry not £2m each day, bad maths... I obviously do NOT work in bank grin

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