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    • Benbythesea
    • By Benbythesea 4th Dec 18, 10:36 AM
    • 5Posts
    • 8Thanks
    Help! Father badly scammed
    • #1
    • 4th Dec 18, 10:36 AM
    Help! Father badly scammed 4th Dec 18 at 10:36 AM
    My father has just been scammed and any advice or observations would be gratefully received. He is a pensioner in his late 70s.

    Last month my father was contacted by someone claiming to be from his bank. The caller said that my father’s account had been compromised and they believed that it was an “inside job”. For that reason the caller said that an investigator from the FCA would make contact. My father was duly called back by and after several conversation over a number of weeks my father was effectively “groomed” by the fraudsters. He believed that the FCA were about to make some high profile arrests and my father was integral to bringing them down.

    The upshot was that my father contacted his financial advisor and asked that all his investments and pensions (in excess of £650 K) should be immediately liquidated and the money sent to his current account. The financial advisor checked my father was sure and my father signed a letter of consent and the funds were duly liquidated.

    My father doesn’t do internet banking and so he went into his local branch and requested that an internal payment be made to an account (the details of which were supplied by the fraudsters). He just had his debit card as id and they did this. I think he may have had a call from the bank after the first payment to check this was ok. As more funds were liquidated by his financial advisor he went in again on two further occasions and requested two further payments which weren’t queried.

    When my father heard nothing more the penny finally dropped. It is with the police and Action Fraud have been informed. Barclays are aware and investigating but so far we have heard nothing.

    The final nail in the coffin is that my father could find himself subject to capital gains tax and owe HMRC £70k - £80K for liquidating his assets. It really is a very sorry tale.

    The above fraud seems so far fetched and my father is the last person you would expect to fall for something like this. As you can imagine he is embarrassed, depressed and about as low as I’ve ever known him. His wife isn't well and the financial implications of this are devastating.

    Does anyone think the bank should have done more? What about the financial advisor? Does he owe a duty of care to ensure that my father really knew what he was doing (especially by turning himself into a high rate tax payer)?

    Thanks for reading and all advice most welcome.
Page 3
    • Candyapple
    • By Candyapple 8th Dec 18, 10:56 AM
    • 3,011 Posts
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    What bank was it?
    I'm a Board Guide on the Credit Cards, Loans, Credit Files & Ratings boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of
    • colsten
    • By colsten 8th Dec 18, 2:25 PM
    • 10,172 Posts
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    They also claimed that my father's IFA was involved too.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    Who knows, perhaps they were actually telling the truth there? How did they know your father had an IFA? Did they know the name of the IFA, and if so, how did they get it? Why did your father not change IFA once he was told his existing IFA was a criminal?

    They successfully isolated my father and he did what they wanted like he was in a Derren Brown show.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    You can't blame an IFA or a bank or a pension provider for that

    ....said he wanted to make a transfer to a bank in Abu Dhabi for £240K.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    Abu Dhabi? And your father went ahead with that?

    The IFA did simply comply with my father's wishes and cashed-in his SIPP. I would argue that little if any due diligence was conducted by the company.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    I'd like to hear the IFA's account of what happened

    Also when they cashed in the Sipp they only applied a basic 20% of tax.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    Are you positive that this is what happened? As it is not what should have happened and your father would have a legitimate claim against the SIPP provider about the tax handling. The HMRC would almost certainly be interested, too.
    Last edited by colsten; 08-12-2018 at 3:52 PM.
    • colsten
    • By colsten 8th Dec 18, 2:28 PM
    • 10,172 Posts
    • 9,334 Thanks
    And two more in quick succession? I am utterly flummoxed as to how this did not lead to his account being frozen subject to investigation.
    Originally posted by xylophone
    It depends on what the dad told the bank. It could have been all sorts - making an investment, planning to move there, planning to buy a property there etc etc. We simply don't know, as we only have a third-hand account of events from one of the parties of this unfortunate matter. It would be useful to know what the bank recollects about the money transfers and the checks they may or may not have made.
    • spenderdave
    • By spenderdave 8th Dec 18, 5:06 PM
    • 469 Posts
    • 270 Thanks
    I suspect the criminals had found out a lot about your father before making their move. The fact that he had a SIPP for instance. Presumably at his age the pension was in payment and it should have been impossible to withdraw the lot? It is all very well to be critical after the event but surely there were enough clues for the bank and IFA to be suspicious, the Abu Dhabi bank the obvious red flag.
    • jonnygee2
    • By jonnygee2 9th Dec 18, 12:01 AM
    • 1,152 Posts
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    Is anyone familiar with the recent Berkeley Burke v FOS ruling? Not exactly the same but it was found that even executor-only SIPP providers should ensure that their clients are not being scammed . I think if the victim in this case is found to have been poorly advised then I think it could be argued that my father has a complaint.
    It is an outsiders chance - it's important you start to come to terms with the fact the money is most likely gone. There are thousands of rulings on very similar cases to this and the vast majority have decided in the banks favour so far. As it stands banks do not need to do a lot to prevent these frauds.

    But that shouldn't stop you from pursuing the complaints route to find out exactly where you stand. In situations like this you obviously need to pursue every possible end that you can.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 9th Dec 18, 10:39 AM
    • 6,186 Posts
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    As 'they' groomed the father over several days they probably extracted much of the information from him without him being aware of what was happening.

    Con men can be very persuasive and cunning.
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 9th Dec 18, 11:04 AM
    • 10,107 Posts
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    As 'they' groomed the father over several days they probably extracted much of the information from him without him being aware of what was happening.

    Con men can be very persuasive and cunning.
    Originally posted by sheramber
    I don't believe that OP indicated the gender of the fraudsters....

    • Butch_Dingle
    • By Butch_Dingle 9th Dec 18, 11:24 AM
    • 114 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    For example my father went in and said he wanted to make a transfer to a bank in Abu Dhabi for £240K.
    Originally posted by Benbythesea
    Authorities in UAE are pretty tough on criminals/fraudsters (some might might say more than UK) and they also have a very good record of solving criminal cases given the low population and a 'Big Brother' environment out there.
    Also you have to jump through hoops to open an account there, eg submit loads of personal info such as certified passport copies as well as letters from employer (based on my own experience), so if the British Police/ authorities were to get in touch with their Emirati counterparts - which they should, given the sums involved - then there's a good chance the fraudsters can be caught if they're still in UAE and/or their bank accounts are still live. Of course If they've fled the country that becomes difficult but maybe Interpol could become involved at that stage if they know the Nationality/passport numbers of those involved.
    Last edited by Butch_Dingle; 09-12-2018 at 11:28 AM.
    • JoBrink
    • By JoBrink 9th Dec 18, 3:30 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    I am so sorry to hear that. But he's not the only one. My lovely elderly neighbour was also the victim of fraud, she personally went on the first day to Thomas Cook to withdraw £4000 worth of euros, and then to the post office to withdraw £4000 of euros, all of which she then passed on to a man on a bike - the courier. All because someone from the Serious Fraud Office in Manchester had said there was a network of crooked banks operating in our area who were giving out counterfeit notes, and they needed someone who the banks could not possibly suspect to help them out. On the second day she went to Santander and withdrew a further £4000. On the third day she was directed to go to a jeweller to purchase a £28,000 watch. Fortunately the jeweller refused to sell her the watch and said to her firmly, I think you're being scammed. At that point she told the fraudster she had had enough and a few days later she came round to ask us if she could borrow our phone to call the police as she believed the fraudsters were monitoring her phone. Like your father, she cannot believe how stupid she was (her own words not mine). Having led professional lives, I think at that age they want to feel that they can still be of use to society, and maybe this leads them to ignore the usual warning signals. The fraudster was also very proficient at grooming her and playing on her vulnerabilities. When the police came round to talk to her, she was all up for setting up a sting operation, but the police wouldn't have it. Subsequently she spoke to her 2 banks about it, both had warned her there was fraud about and that it would be safer not to take out cash, but if the "Serious Fraud Office" were there to try to pick up on counterfeit notes, then obviously she had to have the cash! The manager of one told her she had been stupid, the other contacted their internal fraud department who said they were not liable but this kindly bank manager suggested informally to her that she might want to contact her solicitors. The police don't have any leads on the fraudsters. The question really is the extent to which the banks owe their clients a duty of care. We've come to the conclusion that it's unlikely we can show the banks were negligent but we're not legal people. In my neighbour's case she wanted to draw a line under it and move on, so we haven't actively pursued it although she will talk about it every now and again. Sorry not to be of more help. But to all those people who posted - how on earth did he fall for it, I can assure them that these are not the only 2 out there who have fallen for it. There are plenty of similar cases in the papers all the time. If any one thinks there is a case to be made for getting some of the money back, I would love to hear about it.
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 9th Dec 18, 3:54 PM
    • 16,640 Posts
    • 23,564 Thanks
    The question really is the extent to which the banks owe their clients a duty of care. We've come to the conclusion that it's unlikely we can show the banks were negligent but we're not legal people.
    Originally posted by JoBrink
    In the example you quote, your 'lovely elderly neighbour' withdrew £4,000 worth of euros from Thomas Cook, the Post Office, and Santander. Neither Thomas Cook nor the Post Office are banks. What duty of care do they owe?
    • Uxb
    • By Uxb 9th Dec 18, 3:56 PM
    • 1,306 Posts
    • 1,530 Thanks
    The Berkeley Burke business was indeed different as it was an investment that was made available by BB through their SIPP product portal to pension investors.
    So it seems reasonable that to make it available as an investment opportunity that BB should have done some due diligence on the fact that is was all genuine and not fraudulent while not giving specific advice as to whether or not individual investors should invest in it.
    Sadly it turned out in the BB case that the particular investment was a total fraud.

    All not dissimilar from say Apple vetting the products they approve and make available in their App store.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 9th Dec 18, 7:23 PM
    • 6,186 Posts
    • 4,671 Thanks
    I don't believe that OP indicated the gender of the fraudsters....

    Originally posted by eskbanker

    He believed that the FCA were about to make some high profile arrests and my father was integral to bringing them down.
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 9th Dec 18, 7:39 PM
    • 389 Posts
    • 124 Thanks
    You are not prohibited from communicating with the bank in Abu Dhabi. You never know what the result of writing to them might be, or maybe they have some representation in the UK.
    Last edited by brianposter; 09-12-2018 at 7:50 PM.
    • JoBrink
    • By JoBrink 10th Dec 18, 11:55 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    I'm inclined to agree with you, only both the transactions on the first day were made with a Lloyds debit card. If they had been made with a credit card, the credit card company would probably have put a block at least on the second transaction given the two transactions were made in the space of an hour at most.
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