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Actor lost thousands in online impersonation scam

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Actor, Adam Rickitt, recently spoke on Instagram as a warning to others, after losing money to fraudsters pretending to be from Barclays Bank.

Having lost tens of thousands of pounds, the TV celebrity wanted to share his story, hoping that it prevented the same thing from happening to someone else. He said that the scammers knew all about him and his banking history.

Like many people who have been the victim of an online scam, Adam said he felt stupid and embarrassed about what happened. The scam started with a text message claiming to be from his bank, reporting suspicious activity on his account and informing him that someone from the bank’s fraud department would call to discuss the matter. Adam received the follow-up telephone call a short time later, as promised.

Many scams start with a seemingly genuine text message, email or online advert that looks legitimate and grabs your attention. Adam had some awareness of scams, so sensibly double-checked via the Barclays website that the number matched Barclays’ fraud department. The numbers matched and he went ahead with the call. The scammers were able to disguise the true number they were calling from.

Sadly, APP fraud is on the increase. An authorised push payment is one where you authorise your own bank to make the transaction. You believe the payment request is genuine and give the bank permission for the money transfer to take place. Once the payment is made, the scammers usually transfer your money into another account, details of which you never know, so the money is effectively lost.

The man on the telephone in Adam’s case convinced him that someone had tried to withdraw money in person at a Barclays branch and that he had to make a ‘dummy transaction’ to help the fraud department. Adam was told that if he didn’t urgently do this then his account would be closed. Believing the caller was genuinely from Barclays bank, Adam made the transfer.

Feeling pressured to make a payment is another common tactic used by scammers. The fear of your account being closed down, or the possibility that someone might try again to take money from your account, means you are more likely to comply with a caller’s requests. As a result, Adam lost a considerable amount of money.

Sarah Spruce, Head of Professional Negligence at TLW Solicitors, said:

“Banks have a duty to protect their customers from scammers. If you think you have been the victim of a Push Payment Fraud, it is extremely important to urgently advise the police and also your bank. As well as having robust security checks and data protection measures, banks should have processes in place to highlight and act on any ‘red flags’ such as regular or high-value payment transfers, or other unusual or out of character transactions.

There has been a range of recent decisions by the Financial Ombudsman Service, a Government back body that deals with complaints between financial businesses and their customers, supporting victims of these scams, with some receiving substantial compensation from the banks that oversaw the transactions. What happened in this case shows that even with some initial due diligence, we still need to be extremely vigilant as the scammers become more and more sophisticated.”

Get in touch with the police and also your bank as a matter of urgency. You can also report any suspected scamming activity to Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. If you have lost money, that may lead to a criminal investigation by the police. If a criminal prosecution is successful, the court can award compensation.

But this is not always possible, particularly if the scammer is overseas or has no assets which can be used to pay compensation. In addition to the Criminal courts, you may have the basis of a complaint and claim against your bank if you feel that they did not do enough to look after your money.

If you have lost out to an online Push Payment fraudster, TLW Solicitors may be able to help claim compensation from the bank.

We understand the time limits to be followed, the information needed and the claims and appeals processes. The team will also deal with any complex legal arguments and defences that the bank may raise.

The combination of our experienced team and digital case management systems means that we proactively pursue your claim and aim to get the best possible results.

Please get in touch with our specialist team for a confidential, no-obligation conversation. You can call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete one of the online forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

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