Beware NHS Covid pass fraud - a MoneySaver was scammed out of £25k, but got his money back

After the victim of a Covid pass scam posted on the Forum, we investigated.

News story: 
Beware NHS Covid pass fraud - one MoneySaver was scammed out of £25,000 though he got his money back after MSE intervened
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Comments

  • Silvertabby
    Silvertabby Posts: 9,018 Forumite
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    jimbo6977 said:
    He didn't get his money back though.

    He deprived Santander of £25 grand of their money, despite ignoring all the oft repeated warnings from all banks, government, MSE, uncle Tom Cobley and all, NEVER to follow instructions to move money to a "safe" account. 

    Not quite.  He actually deprived Santander customers - by making them pay higher interest rates on loans, and being paid lower interest rates on savings.  
  • jimbo6977 said:
    He didn't get his money back though.

    He deprived Santander of £25 grand of their money, despite ignoring all the oft repeated warnings from all banks, government, MSE, uncle Tom Cobley and all, NEVER to follow instructions to move money to a "safe" account. 

    Not quite.  He actually deprived Santander customers - by making them pay higher interest rates on loans, and being paid lower interest rates on savings.  
    25 grand is peanuts to Santander, the idea that sum will affect mortgage or interest rates is ludicrous. 

    I assume Santander aren't obligated to cover the loss, if that is true they effectively spent the money on PR.  
  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    soolin said:
    perhaps a different way needs to be found to protect those who are vulnerable , I have no idea what though. 
    The money always has to come from somewhere and that generally will mean the average person is paying either through prices for products/services because business pay directly (like this, levies for a fund, taxes) or a public directly pay through taxation for a public fund

    You also then need to define "vulnerable" to decide those that you will cover and those you wont... A colleague (45 yo white male, middle management IT in a Financial Services company) fell for a "we're calling from your bank/move money to safe account" scam whilst in the office, could overhear the call but couldnt say anything, and just saw his face collapse second afterwards when he realised what he'd done. By no normal definition vulnerable but £30k or so down.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,568 Forumite
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    edited 27 January 2022 at 10:56PM
    jimbo6977 said:
    He didn't get his money back though.

    He deprived Santander of £25 grand of their money, despite ignoring all the oft repeated warnings from all banks, government, MSE, uncle Tom Cobley and all, NEVER to follow instructions to move money to a "safe" account. 

    Not quite.  He actually deprived Santander customers - by making them pay higher interest rates on loans, and being paid lower interest rates on savings.  
    25 grand is peanuts to Santander, the idea that sum will affect mortgage or interest rates is ludicrous. 

    I assume Santander aren't obligated to cover the loss, if that is true they effectively spent the money on PR.  
    But it's not just £25K is it?  It's the sum of ALL of the 'refunds' paid out by ALL of the banks to ALL of those people who were 'conned'.  The banks must factor in these losses when crunching their numbers 

    Making it easier to pay these 'refunds' has just given a green light to the crooks, as bank customers will be even less likely to apply due diligence if they think that they won't lose 'their' money.


    A quick Google suggests that banks have signed up to a code to refund people defrauded by this type of scam when the bank could have done more to prevent the fraud but there's mention they are discussing it will become a law to refund customers who are victim to this type of scam.

    One report suggests 80% of complaints against Santander, where they didn't refund or part refunded, were upheld suggesting the banks aren't living up to the code. 

    Why aren't these scam texts detected and blocked, why can someone change the number that appears on the phone, why can someone transfer £25k to a new recipient without the bank performing checks. Of course law enforcement should do more and government should do more but you and I would pay for that also.

    It may be easy to say let the guy lose his £25k because well it's not you, but there are plenty of people who are simply not wise to this type of thing. A lot of scams play on greed and it might be fair to say the victims deserve less sympathy in such instances but with this type of scam the victim is blinded by a situation expertly crafted to extract their life savings on the premises they will otherwise lose their money. The scammers have perfected an art of convincing the victim they are in a vulnerable position and must act now, with the impression there is no time and something is about to be lost most people won't act with the same rational thought they would otherwise usually apply. 
  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head said:
    why can someone change the number that appears on the phone
    Because a phone call is no longer done a hard wire from a phone to an exchange to a phone wired at the other end.

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons why businesses for example want and need to be able to change the CLI... as a claims handler I dealt with 4 different brands when someone phones me my headset says which brand it is and I therefore can adjust my salutation. Now if I call them I need to have the ability for my phone number to appear as the appropriate brand else if the customer sees a missed call and calls back and gets through to "Direct Line Claims" they may be very confused if they are a Churchill customer 

    As well as the practical need to "change" CLI someone must ultimately initially tell the network the CLI when a call comes from a provider in the UK there are supposed to be rules to say some checks are done to ensure there is a legitimate right to use the CLI either because you rent the number from your provider or can evidence you rent it from elsewhere (my laptop and mobile uses VOIP which has its CLI as my mobile so I can phone from abroad without international charges and the recipient gets my mobile number not some other number and knows its me).  

    Most of these calls however use overseas providers who are clearly more relaxed about the rules... the call doesnt need to be made from abroad, like my VOIP, I can make it from anywhere in the world as long as I have an internet connection.

    I know some what a way to link a CLI to set providers but that'd need to be a global agreement between all providers... after all your bank wants their Indian call centre to ID as a UK telephone number. It sounds very expensive and very onerous if its to have any robustness
  • kaMelo
    kaMelo Posts: 2,367 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 28 January 2022 at 1:11AM
    jimbo6977 said:
    He didn't get his money back though.

    He deprived Santander of £25 grand of their money, despite ignoring all the oft repeated warnings from all banks, government, MSE, uncle Tom Cobley and all, NEVER to follow instructions to move money to a "safe" account. 

    Not quite.  He actually deprived Santander customers - by making them pay higher interest rates on loans, and being paid lower interest rates on savings.  
    25 grand is peanuts to Santander, the idea that sum will affect mortgage or interest rates is ludicrous. 

    I assume Santander aren't obligated to cover the loss, if that is true they effectively spent the money on PR.  
    But it's not just £25K is it?  It's the sum of ALL of the 'refunds' paid out by ALL of the banks to ALL of those people who were 'conned'.  The banks must factor in these losses when crunching their numbers 

    Making it easier to pay these 'refunds' has just given a green light to the crooks, as bank customers will be even less likely to apply due diligence if they think that they won't lose 'their' money.


    A quick Google suggests that banks have signed up to a code to refund people defrauded by this type of scam when the bank could have done more to prevent the fraud but there's mention they are discussing it will become a law to refund customers who are victim to this type of scam.

    One report suggests 80% of complaints against Santander, where they didn't refund or part refunded, were upheld suggesting the banks aren't living up to the code. 

    Why aren't these scam texts detected and blocked, why can someone change the number that appears on the phone, why can someone transfer £25k to a new recipient without the bank performing checks. Of course law enforcement should do more and government should do more but you and I would pay for that also.

    It may be easy to say let the guy lose his £25k because well it's not you, but there are plenty of people who are simply not wise to this type of thing. A lot of scams play on greed and it might be fair to say the victims deserve less sympathy in such instances but with this type of scam the victim is blinded by a situation expertly crafted to extract their life savings on the premises they will otherwise lose their money. The scammers have perfected an art of convincing the victim they are in a vulnerable position and must act now, with the impression there is no time and something is about to be lost most people won't act with the same rational thought they would otherwise usually apply. 
    There are countless examples of people ignoring everything put in front of them to prevent them falling victim to scams, they were determined to pay the money regardless.  Here is a good example of someone who simply wouldn't be deterred. 
    https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/decision/DRN-2605137.pdf

    Short of putting up the shutters and blocking the account (or sending someone around to put her in a straight jacket) I don't know what else they could have done. That's one example, I could have listed a dozen similar cases. Whilst I'm not without sympathy for their predicament I do think people have to take some responsibility for their actions also.  

    We've all got used to faster payments being almost instantaneous and it's made life easier, if we're not careful the result of putting banks, ultimately the bank customers, on the hook for everything people do will mean an end to that. Be careful what you wish for


  • porkisnotmeat
    porkisnotmeat Posts: 72 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post
    edited 28 January 2022 at 1:46AM
    jimbo6977 said:
    He didn't get his money back though.

    He deprived Santander of £25 grand of their money, despite ignoring all the oft repeated warnings from all banks, government, MSE, uncle Tom Cobley and all, NEVER to follow instructions to move money to a "safe" account. 

    Not quite.  He actually deprived Santander customers - by making them pay higher interest rates on loans, and being paid lower interest rates on savings.  
    25 grand is peanuts to Santander, the idea that sum will affect mortgage or interest rates is ludicrous. 

    I assume Santander aren't obligated to cover the loss, if that is true they effectively spent the money on PR.  
    But it's not just £25K is it?  It's the sum of ALL of the 'refunds' paid out by ALL of the banks to ALL of those people who were 'conned'.  The banks must factor in these losses when crunching their numbers 

    Making it easier to pay these 'refunds' has just given a green light to the crooks, as bank customers will be even less likely to apply due diligence if they think that they won't lose 'their' money.


    A quick Google suggests that banks have signed up to a code to refund people defrauded by this type of scam when the bank could have done more to prevent the fraud but there's mention they are discussing it will become a law to refund customers who are victim to this type of scam.

    One report suggests 80% of complaints against Santander, where they didn't refund or part refunded, were upheld suggesting the banks aren't living up to the code. 

    Why aren't these scam texts detected and blocked, why can someone change the number that appears on the phone, why can someone transfer £25k to a new recipient without the bank performing checks. Of course law enforcement should do more and government should do more but you and I would pay for that also.

    It may be easy to say let the guy lose his £25k because well it's not you, but there are plenty of people who are simply not wise to this type of thing. A lot of scams play on greed and it might be fair to say the victims deserve less sympathy in such instances but with this type of scam the victim is blinded by a situation expertly crafted to extract their life savings on the premises they will otherwise lose their money. The scammers have perfected an art of convincing the victim they are in a vulnerable position and must act now, with the impression there is no time and something is about to be lost most people won't act with the same rational thought they would otherwise usually apply. 
    So where are the calls for every victim of every crime to be refunded out of everyone else's pocket?

    It's not about "not being wise to it" but the idea that Santander will be out of pocket over this is bogus.  Someone else will pay the cost and it won't be their shareholders either.

    Perhaps you're OK with subsiding these peoples mistakes through lower saving rates, and higher charges/debit interest rates but I'm not sure that's true of most people. Very few, I suspect, have the nous to understand that these costs are simply passed onto consumers and would be very unlikely to be happy with them if they did.

    As to this part

    Why aren't these scam texts detected and blocked, why can someone change the number that appears on the phone, why can someone transfer £25k to a new recipient without the bank performing checks. Of course law enforcement should do more and government should do more but you and I would pay for that also.
    They can't be blocked, because the telecommunications system doesn't work like that, and never will if it's functional.

    Number spoofing is a relic of an analogue system that is going to go bye-bye when everything is digital (a few years away yet.) Again a relic of a system that can't work unless you allow spoofing.  But fundamentally it allows people to have non-geographical numbers, instead of geographical ones.

    The bank probably did do a check, including asking for a card reader or other 2FA to set up a new recipient.  If you expect everyone to be phoned every time a large transaction is made to a new payee, pay for it. I suspect most people (including yourself) would baulk at paying an extra quid even to cover this cost. Christ, people moaned about having to pay to withdraw money from ATMs (which don't operate on unicorn farts funnily enough.)

    Yes, I'd support actually paying more for "law enforcement" (most people call them the police) to do more about it, because that's what they're there for. It is not the job of the bank to enforce the law or chase bad guys, even though that responsibility has increasingly been offloaded to them over the past 20+ years.  However, I don't expect law enforcement to actually do much about it, regardless of how much money we throw at them.  They live in a system based on targets that seems to value quantity over quality, because those are far better for the press releases that they throw out to make people think they're doing something worthwhile.


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