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24 Jan 2022

'Criminals stole my Sim card and emptied my Monzo bank account, and it won't refund me'

Which? helps a Monzo customer secure a refund for fraudulent payments

Do you have an issue you need to put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?

My wallet and phone were stolen when I was out in London recently. I found them quickly but found not only had my Monzo debit card been stolen, but that my Sim card had been taken from my phone too.

It quickly became clear the thieves had emptied my account, spending almost £1,700. Some of the payments included more than £600 at Costcutter and another £600 at an off-licence.

I froze my card and reported the transactions to Monzo and the police, but after almost a week of investigating, Monzo decided the transactions weren't fraudulent and told me it wouldn't reimburse me.

Of course, I was disappointed with this response. When you realise something like this has happened to you it's not always easy to stitch together what exactly has gone on. I wasn't sure why they took my Sim card but not my phone, for example. But it was obvious that the transactions were suspicious and not in line with how I normally use my Monzo card.

Can you explain why my Sim card was stolen and help me get my money back please?

Liam, Newcastle

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:

Realising you've been a victim of card theft is stressful and upsetting - made even worse if your bank doesn't refund you for the money lost.

Unfortunately criminals are always finding new and devious ways to swindle victims. We spoke with Steve Goddard, fraud market expert at Featurespace, a company specialising in fraud prevention technology, to find out why the criminals might have stolen your Sim card.

'Taking the Sim card prevents the victim getting notifications on their phone from Monzo saying that money's been spent,' Steve explained. 'This means the fraudsters can do what they want without worrying that the victim's going to cancel the card straight away.'

In your case, Liam, the fraudulent transactions all took place within shops - but the criminals could have used your Sim card to cause even further damage online.

'If criminals get access your online banking via your Sim card, they can charge your details, set up new payments and even open up another account or take out a loan,' Steve told us.

We contacted Monzo about Liam's case and it explained that it initially refused to refund him due to inaccuracies in his story. After we explained what happened, they refunded him in full.

A Monzo spokesperson told us: ''We've since reimbursed [him], appreciating the customer may have been in a stressful situation when providing the original account of what happened. We advise all customers who are victims of fraud to speak to their bank immediately and to always provide the full and accurate facts when making a claim for reimbursement.'

If Liam's story sounds all too familiar, follow our tips below on how to report unauthorised payments and challenge your bank if you don't feel your case is handled properly.

Need to know

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