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A 70-year-old pensioner who was the victim of a romance scam has been returned £153,000 by Lloyds Bank – despite not automatically being entitled to compensation.
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A man named only James was persuaded to send tens of thousands of pounds to a fraudster who claimed they were trapped in an abusive relationship. The scammers take advantage of the recent death of James’ wife, whom he had cared for when she was suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia, to manipulate James.
Despite warnings from Lloyds Bank, James continued to send money due to psychological pressure from the fraudster. Eventually, James’ son Adam had to intervene when he found out what was happening.
Firstly, Lloyds informed Adam that since the scammer had used a US bank account James was not entitled to a refund. However, the bank eventually changed its mind, noting James’ particularly vulnerable position.
According to Adam he was first alerted to the fraud when his father was in hospital and asked to make a transfer for him. Adam quickly realized what was going on and contacted Lloyds Bank.
Initially, Lloyds was helpful, saying that his father was probably entitled to compensation under the Voluntary Banking Code. However, the next day Adam was informed that the code did not cover transactions made in foreign bank accounts.
“I felt gut punched. I felt sick that all this money was gone, that there was no cover,” Adam said, speaking to the BBC.
Adam then contacted the BBC’s Money Box to clarify the situation and seek advice. Money Box decided to investigate the situation.
The investigation revealed that Lloyds had indeed done well at first. The bank quickly spotted signs of potential fraud and blocked several transactions. They also warned James about what was going on, first over the phone and then in person at a meeting at a branch, but he still insisted on paying.
Following the BBC’s investigation, Lloyds reviewed James’ case and agreed to change their normal policy due to James’ specific circumstances.
The bank said in a statement: “Sadly, in this case, our customer did not take appropriate steps to verify that the person she met online was genuine. We blocked a number of transfers and have Warned of the risk of being a scam, however, he chose to continue with the transaction.
“Given the complexity of this case and their personal circumstances at the time, we have now provided the fraudsters with a full refund of the funds they lost.”
Pensioner victim of romance scam shock at £150,000 bank refund
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