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Updated: 29 Mar 2022

'I've been stonewalled by Barclays months after losing £12k to a scam, how can I get my money back?'

Which? helps David after he's targeted by a devious impersonation scam and left feeling abandoned by his bank

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

Dear Which?,

In June, a scammer impersonating Barclays stole more than £12,000 of my savings.

I received a text message supposedly from Barclays' fraud team, warning me about a fraudulent transaction and to expect a phone call. Shortly after I received a call from an02476 Barclays phone number, so I believed it to be from my bank.

The caller had complete access to all my account details, transactions, payees, etc.

I was told that my account was compromised and I need to move my savings to secure them. At the time of the call, I was planning a memorial service for my parents and so it was already a highly emotional and stressful time.

Feeling pressured to take action and reassured that the call was coming from Barclays, I agreed to set up a new 'safe' account and move my money to protect it. The new account was created with TSB.

I also transferred money from my HSBC account, a sum of around £2,000.

My wife was suspicious of the call and contacted Barclays on a different phone line, it was then that we realised it was a scam. It was too late, the money had gone.

I reported the scam that day - to both Barclays and HSBC. HSBC informed me the next day that the TSB account was frozen. I had a reimbursement of 40% of the money I lost from my HSBC account in August, and the remainder later that month.

TSB has told me it returned the funds to Barclays and HSBC in June. In the last letter I received from Barclays, it said it has reached its final decision, but that it also continues to investigate the scam.

But after months of waiting, I still don't have a clear decision from Barclays on whether it will reimburse my savings or not. I don't know what to do. Can you please help?

David Horsman, West Sussex

David Horsman
David Horsman feels 'totally stonewalled' by Barclays

Put to Rights

Lauren Deitz, Which? consumer rights expert, says:

What a truly awful experience you have had here, David. Not only were you the victim of a devious impersonation scam, but the subsequent service and support you received from Barclays has been poor, to say the least.

Bank impersonation scams doubled in the first half of 2021 - 33,115 recorded cases totalling a loss of £129.4m, according to figures from UK Finance.

These types of scams can be incredibly difficult to detect - the scammer knew specific details about your account and also disguised their true caller ID to mimic that of Barclays, which is known as number spoofing. With the mounting pressure to protect your account, it's hard to see the wood for the trees in these situations.

The scammer convinced you to transfer money from your account to a new safe account with TSB, scams like these are known as bank transfer scams or authorised push payment scams.

Barclays is signed up to the Authorised Push Payment Scam Code and under this code banks are expected to refund blameless scam victims, like yourself.

In the first quarter of this financial year, the Financial Ombudsman upheld 60% of scam complaints. Complaints have also risen by 66%. It has called on banks to do more to resolve customer complaints.

We contacted Barclays about David's situation and it reimbursed the full amount, plus compensation.

Barclays said: 'This is another tragic case of a bank impersonation scam and we have reimbursed our customer for the funds that were stolen. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to [David] and have offered an extra payment as a gesture of goodwill.'

In a letter to David, Barclays has since explained that internal errors led to a delay in its investigation, and without those errors he would have been reimbursed in August.

Which? wants consumers to be treated consistently when they fall victim to a bank transfer scam and for banks to swiftly and fairly reimburse all those who lose money through no fault of their own.

Need to know

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