When a doctor from the North West realised he might have been the victim of a scam he contacted Natwest. He was left unhappy with the bank’s response and wanted the bank to explain to him what they had done to stop his £40,000 being taken from his account. He requested Natwest provide him with copies of telephone conversations that had been had with the Natwest fraud department. What followed was quite shocking. The bank had accidently forwarded him a copy of an internal email between staff. It said: “I never fill them in for or on behalf of a customer and I always assert on then sending the completed form to the address on the form. I do like to make it as difficult as possible – I’m bad lol”.

Many other Natwest customers told a BBC programme that they were also unhappy with the banks response to their losses, after being tricked out of large amounts of money by scammers posing as bank staff. The fraud involves scammers posing as bank staff and convincing customers to move their money into an account owned by the fraudsters. They convince victims that their accounts have been hacked and customers have lost thousands of pounds. So it is extremely troubling to see this internal email which highlights the banks overall attitude to customers who have been a victim to fraud.

Bank accounts remain the most targeted by fraudsters with more than 100,000 reported cases in the UK last year alone. Because of this the Financial Ombudsman Service has warned banks to stop automatically blaming their customers for money lost to fraud. FOS said that the growing sophistication or fraudsters means it is wrong to assume losses are because of customers being careless with their personal information.

In response Natwest told the BBC: “While we cannot divulge our fraud prevention strategies, NatWest uses a risk-based approach when deciding if a payment is suspicious. A combination of factors can prompt further enquiries into certain payments and these are continually adjusted to meet the fraud and scam trends prevalent at any given time. Furthermore, we review each case on its own merit.”

NatWest urged anyone who received a money transfer request from someone claiming to be from the bank to turn it down, and report it immediately to their bank on a phone number they could trust.

 Stay safe from financial crime:

Have you received an unexpected call, email or text asking you to provide personal information? Just because someone knows some of your personal details it does not mean they are genuine. They may know your full name, address, maiden name etc, but they could be a fraudster looking to extract more information from you in order to gain access to your bank account and your money.

1. A bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN of full password, or to transfer money to a ‘Safe Account’.

2. Never give out your personal or financial details unless you are 100% sure who you are talking to.

3. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. This could give a fraudster access to your personal details.

3. Always question people who contact you through cold-calling. Under new laws brought in this year, it is now illegal to cold-call and individual unless you have given your specific consent for them to do so.

5. If you are in any doubt about who a caller is, end the call. You can always call the company back when you have obtained the company’s number from a legitimate and trusted source.