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Monday 24 October 2016

Woman who lost €9,500 in email scam won't get a cent from bank

Jane O'Faherty

Published 04/05/2016 | 18:04

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

A woman who had €9,500 taken from her account by scammers says she is going to the Financial Ombudsman over the bank’s treatment of her case.

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The lady, named Carmel, fell victim to the fraud after she responded to an email purporting to be Bank of Ireland in February.

She has not yet received any refund from her bank.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Liveline, she said she could understand why people would say she should have been more careful.

“If this was €100 or €200 you’d say fair enough,” she said. “Given that it’s a substantial figure, I suppose I was expecting a completely different outcome.”

The problem first arose when Carmel responded to an email, which said Bank of Ireland wished to update her account details.

She was then prompted to put her own name and her mother’s maiden name in a pop-up box, which she did. She was not asked for her password or other security details.

She was then alerted to a number of transactions via her bank’s text and email service.

She then realised that her account had been emptied in three transactions, all within the space of an hour.

 “What came back to me was that I had revealed sufficient information to allow [the scammers] to be able to use the data to withdraw the money,” she added.

She also stressed that she had the large sum in her account after she changed her car just prior the scam.

The bank later told Carmel that since she had revealed her own information, they could do nothing about it. That decision did not change after Carmel made a complaint.

While Carmel admitted that the bank did alert her to the problem, she said the procedure “would lead you to believe if they alerted you they would do something about it.”

Carmel added that she thought telling the bank she had revealed her information in response to an email had reduced her chances of getting the money refunded.

“I’m a customer for 20 years plus,” she said. “I have all of my banking with them. I have my mortgage with them. They are making more than [the money lost] from the interest on my mortgage.”

Carmel also expressed her dismay at not receiving a phone call from the bank, and dealing only through letters.

“My next step is the Financial Ombudsman, so that’s what I’m on with now,” she added.

“That seems to be as much as I can do,” she continued. “But as I say, for such a substantial amount, I would have imagined a phone call at least.”

In a statement, Bank of Ireland said: “Customers are always advised if they receive a fraudulent pop-up, email or webpage not to reply or follow any of the specified instructions, regardless of how genuine they may appear and report it immediately to the bank.”

It added that complaints are assessed on an individual basis.

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