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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 17:09 GMT
Your Say: Fraud refunds
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Latest figures from bank and credit card companies suggest UK plastic, card and online banking fraud losses ran to 209.3m in the first 6 months of 2006.

1 in every 3 people has been a victim of card fraud with around 1.2m being stolen every day.

Although chip and pin has helped to bring down losses, card-not-present fraud where cards are used over the telephone, internet or for mail order, continues to rise.

If you had been a victim of fraud, we asked if your bank or building society was helpful in sorting out the problem and if you recieved a full refund.

You sent us your views, a selection of which are below. The debate is now closed.

I'm very careful about safeguarding my cards and banking details - although I do use internet banking. Despite this both my debit card and credit card (issued by the same bank) were fraudulently used at the same time - suggesting that someone inside the bank might be involved. The fraudulent transactions were picked up really quickly - by the company and myself - and I had no real problems in getting the money back. What shocked me was the bank's dilatory attitude to following this up. The user bought a number of items - including air tickets - that should have made it easy to trace him/her. However, my impression was that no effort was made to trace the offender.
Valerie, London

If banks and building societies want to shift responsibility to customers they should also take responsibility. Two cases show that neither they nor the police bother to follow up cases of fraud even when there are clues. In my case my cheque book was intercepted in the post. I never received it but as I don't often write cheques I didn't miss it. A large amount was drawn using one of the cheques. Fortunately I was overdrawn so the bank did not honour the cheque so there was no harm done and the cheque book was cancelled. I asked for a copy of the cheque and it showed the payee and where the cheque was presented, but neither the police nor the bank seemed to want to follow it up. There could be a thief at the post office or even within the bank system - but no one seemed interested in the details. In another case a friend of mine received an invoice from Dell for computers supposedly ordered by her using her card. It showed the delivery address somewhere in the Midlands. West Midlands police told her to contact her police (in Hampshire). They were not interested. What a wasted opportunity when details where available to follow up.
Liz, London

Last week Alliance & Leicester phoned me about unusual activity on my debit card. There had been a couple of small amounts taken out by a company I had never heard of which they said were probably tests followed by the big one which was over 1000 to a company in Canada which I had also never heard of let alone had any dealings with. When I asked the bank how this could happen they said they could have just got the card number by random selection. I find this worrying as it means no matter how careful you are it can still happen! The bank blocked my card immediately and issued a new one which I should get in the next few days. They have also put my balance back to what it was before the fraud.
Simon, High Wycombe

I am an artist and am the victim of a fraud regarding the sale of a painting. The circumstance arose when I was emailed by a buyer, supposedly in Dubai, wanting to purchase a painting. He said he was also buying other works in the UK and wanted his associate in the UK to pay me by cheque for all his purchases, for me to keep my share and forward the balance on to his shipping agent, who would take care of the rest of the purchases and would pick up my painting. I had some questions about the payment process but having had our questions answered I decided to go ahead with the deal. I had every intention of waiting for the cheque to clear before making the arranged payment using Western Union. Our bank, First Direct sent a text mini-statement by mobile phone, which showed our 'available funds' - with the cheque credited to our account, as did the statement on the internet banking system. I thus assumed the cheque had cleared and continued with the transaction. I would never have made a payment unless I believed this to be the case. The cheque proved to be a forgery and I lost a great deal of money. I suggest that showing a credit in an account that has not cleared is highly misleading. Other banks' internet services (the Co-operative Bank's 'Acumen' service for one) show both the cleared and uncleared amounts. If this had been the case with First Direct, I would have waited and would have realised the cheque was not good. Having, in retrospect, discovered that this is a common form of fraud, it now seems very obvious that the fraudsters use this ambiguity to their advantage. A simple change to the design of a website and a little more detail on text statements could save innocent people from such scams. First Direct has offered no financial support or help in this case and do not seem to value ten years of custom and investment with the bank.
Don, Hebden Bridge

My wallet was stolen recently. The thieves managed to steal 550 from a credit card in the wallet. The bank is refusing to re-pay the amount stolen as they say I must have been negligent in some way and given access to my pin number for the thieves to be able to access my account. I have assured them, categorically, that this was not the case. What help can I get?
Tom, Ipswich

I had a cheque for 20,000 (made out to me by Halifax) stolen in the post and cashed at a Nationwide branch. It took the best part of a year for most of the money to be returned - it was 800 short. By the time I got most of it I was too exhausted by the whole thing to go and fight for the missing 800. I was not paid interest on the money (which I presume the Nationwide had), and the financial ombudsman thought that given the full story this was fair enough. I suffer from a chronic illness which makes it inadvisable for me to be under undue stress. I found it humiliating being treated as if I was the criminal and not being allowed to talk to Nationwide myself - since they could not prove my identity. Everything had to go through Halifax HQ. I found the whole thing very, very lonely and would have valued some kind of support group.
Jenny, London

A family member in London bought two drinks in a bar, paid for them around 12.43pm (time on receipt) by credit card using pin and returned with card to her table. Unknown to her, her card had been stolen and just 6 minutes after a cash withdrawal was made from a nearby dispenser. The max. for one day was taken then just after midnight a further max. for one day was withdrawn from the same bank. She discovered her loss later (still in bar) and reported it to the police. Barclaycard told her at first that she would have to prove she had not given the number to someone but gave her forms to fill in. The outcome is not clear yet (no reply). I provide this information to warn others of the danger. She is now 900.00 overdrawn and has received no assurances that her money stolen presumably by someone looking over her shoulder to observe the pin and a pickpocket in the bar [will be returned].
Anne, Stevenage

My 81 year old mother had her bag stolen with purse, cards and pin no. written on envelope from her sheltered accom. flat. The thief used it to withdraw 2 x 200 from her account with Lloyds TSB in Wigan. When visiting the bank on 2 occasions, they did not give us any advice re the situation, the police advised me saying 'it was theft from the bank'. I have complained to the bank, however they have refused to refund the money saying this is because the pin no. was with the card. I feel they have been as callous as the thief. What can I do? This is ongoing at the moment.
Lorraine, Huddersfield

I purchased an item off ebay and I paid by direct transfer from my HSBC account. The next day I got an email from ebay not to pay, so I got onto my bank straight away to stop payment but they said they couldn't stop it going through, which was quite absurd. It takes 4 days to go into the other person's account and they couldn't stop it. Not only that, I did one wrong number on my security details and they stopped my account straight away. It's amazing how they can stop a person's account in 2 seconds but can't stop a payment that takes 4 days to clear. Now I've lost over 200.00 and my purchase has not arrived.
John, Luton

I had my handbag (and filofax) stolen in central London last June. The difference between the various 'banks' attitude to the use the thieves put my various cards to was interesting. Capital One just refunded the card that was drawn within 1/2 hour of the theft - after telephoning me to check the position Lloyds refunded both the cash drawn on my card (again within 1/2 an hour) and the spending on the stolen cheques - partly their fault as [I was] told they 'overlooked' stopping the cheques. But they apologised profusely for their error. Sainsbury's said 'tough you pay the lot'. They did not even bother to telephone me about the use of the card which was unusual as I had never, ever drawn cash on it before - although their fraud people parroted 'you were listed for a call' but could not even apologise that the call never took place!
Phyl, Reading

I ordered about 500 worth of wines & spirits over the internet from an Italian firm. The goods were never sent despite many e-mails. I complained to my card company, Marbles, and it refunded my money in full without a quibble.
Dave, Kendal

Nationwide contacted me by phone to advise me that they suspected that some transactions being put through on my Visa card may be fraudulent. They went through about 6 or 10 recent tranasactions and asked me to confirm which were genuine. Having estblished that there were 3 or 4 fraudulent transactions they immediately cancelled the card, removed the fraudulent transactions and issued me with a new card. About as painless as it could be.
Derek, Beaumaris

Strange that the banks do not pay out when fraud occurs, as they certainly do not lose the money themselves. As a small retailer I have been victim on numerous occasions to fraud and not once has the bank re-imbursed me.
Richard, Brentwood

I was recently the victim of fraud after trying to order Christmas presents for my children over the net. I informed my bank who promptly cancelled my card after about 80 had been taken. 2 days later 1,600 was paid out for two lap tops. I was told this was due to these transactions having been invisible 'in the ether' at the time. I was pleased to have my losses reimbursed by the bank and grateful to them. Thanks to my husband's internet searches we actually were able to get the e-mail address of the culprit and passed this on to the bank, but no-one either at main office or at my branch could confirm whether or not this information would be passed on to the police. Though delighted to get my money back, I would hate to think that this person has got off scotfree. Do you know if card frauds are in fact pursued? Thank you.

I had my HSBC debit card fraudulently used by having approximately 600 taken out of my account just before Christmas by two separate transactions in Malaysia. HSBC were very, very good, accepted that it was a fraud and replaced my money into my account within two weeks despite it including the Christmas period. However, the two separate transactions caused me to go over my overdraft limit so really the second, cash, transaction should have not gone through. If I had used the cash machine opposite my house I am sure the machine would have eaten my card. Possibly then HSBC bank have been a bit negligent?

I am a "Merchant" and in my experience of 20 years in finance dealing with all the clearing banks I have never found any bank being on the side of the victimised business. They take the easy way out of protecting themselves and the cardholder by carrying out charge back. They don't even advise businesses what to do when they do become a victim of fraud. Their response to the paperwork sent to justify the transaction is inadequate too. Most banks carry out the charge back within 4 days from receipt of notification and give you 14 days to send in the supporting paperwork, this too is unfair.
Syrus, London

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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