Support after a bank transfer scam

7 August, 2018

Barbara was affected by fraud. She writes about how dealing with the crime can be overwhelming, how important it is not to blame yourself and the support she received from Victim Support Scotland.

I was the victim of a bank transfer scam and lost £5000, and it happened so easily.

I received a phone call from someone who said they were from the bank I had a credit card with. He knew my name, address, telephone number and credit card limit. He said they were conducting a review and did I require an increase in my credit card limit? I said I was quite happy with what I had. He then asked if I was interested in an instant access savings account which was offering 3.5% interest if you deposited £5000. After some discussion I agreed I could be interested. He said he would phone back the next day and I would receive text messages with details.

I received two text messages next day. One saying I would shortly receive a phone call regarding my new account and the other giving me the sort code and account number of my new account. These text messages followed on from legitimate messages I received every month from that bank reminding me that my credit card payment was due. A short while later he phoned again. He was pleasant and plausible, stressing the benefit of this account and that it was only available to existing customers. I went online and transferred the money from my current account with another bank to what I thought was my new savings account. I was told I would receive paperwork through the post which would require my signature. But I didn’t receive anything.

After a couple of days I became concerned and phoned the bank to enquire about my new account to be told that the sort code and account number did not belong to that bank and it was then I realised that I had been scammed.

Finding support

I reported the scam to the bank I held my current account with as well as to Action Fraud. Through them there was a link to the Victim Support Scotland website so I contacted them about accessing advice and support. I am very glad I did! My friends and family have been very supportive but it helps to talk to someone who is not involved. I have found the VSS support to be invaluable in what has been a very distressing ongoing situation.

It is easy to blame yourself when it comes to scams. No one thinks it will happen to them – I certainly didn’t. The staff I have talked to at Victim Support Scotland have always listened and never judged me. They reassure me that it is not my fault. I have received practical advice, emotional support and encouragement when I have sometimes felt overwhelmed and powerless when dealing with large bureaucratic organisations. It is also good to know that everything I say remains confidential. They make it very clear that they are there for me and I am at the centre of whatever support is required. They have helped restore my confidence and trust which was compromised by the knowledge that someone deliberately targeted me and succeeded in their scam.

Despite taking my case to the Financial Services Ombudsman I have been unsuccessful in retrieving any of my funds and as yet the police investigation has not resulted in any prosecution.

It has taken time but with the support of family and friends, as well as the knowledge that I can continue to access support from Victim Support Scotland staff for as long as necessary, I am coming to terms with what has happened. Having that amount of money stolen is a significant loss but the psychological impact has been even more devastating.

I would say to anyone who has been in the same situation that the support of an organisation like Victim Support Scotland can be crucial to aid your recovery.