Scammers steal Â£8,000 from Asfordby couple's bank account
When Sarah Wright was told she had been scammed out of Â£8,000 through a mobile banking app she collapsed to the floor of her Melton bank.
That was six months ago and the 53-year-old Asfordby woman is still fighting to have the stolen money reimbursed by NatWest.
She had been called in March by a bogus bank official warning her of suspicious activity on the joint-account she has with husband, Jon, and was told that a ‘safe account’ would need to be set up to move her funds into.
But, the scammers are understood to have hacked into another person’s account, with Lloyds, and moved the couple’s money there before withdrawing it all.
The money included her own savings, the £3,000 overdraft facility, which she had not used, and £500 she was looking after for son Thomas.
She recalled the moment the terrible truth dawned on her as she went into her branch in High Street.
She said: “The cashier looked at my account and said ‘you’ve got nothing left’.
“I just dropped to the floor and they had to take me into a room to calm me down.”
Mrs Wright is still unsure how the scammers managed to move the money online because she did not give them any passwords or pin codes.
There was initially some hope when a Lloyds’ representative told her he could see the money in the new ‘safe’ account but it turned out it had already been withdrawn.
Mrs Wright said Lloyds gave her £300 as a goodwill gesture for the misunderstanding. NatWest returned to the couple just the £5.09 which was left in the Lloyds account after it was emptied.
She is unhappy NatWest has not been able to get them all of their stolen money back.
Mrs Wright, who retired recently from Petfoods, ended up using money she had from her small pension pot to repay NatWest the overdraft amount and the savings her son had accrued.
She added: “The money I’ve had to pay back was money I had worked for in over 33 years at Petfoods.
“I want to warn others to be aware that this sort of thing can happen to anyone.”
An ombudsman is currently looking into the circumstances of the fraud and the bank’s reaction to it.
A spokesperson for NatWest said: “We sympathise with Mr and Mrs Wright and appreciate that this has been an extremely distressing experience for them.
“We take our responsibilities to preventing scams very seriously and would remind customers that they should never make a payment or divulge full security credentials, including mobile app activation codes, to anyone and we will never phone and ask anyone for these details.
“We will never ask a customer to move money to another account to keep it safe from scams or fraud.
“Any such request should be declined and reported to us on a phone number that you can trust, such as the number on the back of your card, or from our website.
“We would also recommend that where possible you call back from a device that is different to that which received the call.”