This month’s scam watch saw the loss of £1,400 to a property deposit fraudster. Here’s how it was done, and what you need to watch out for.
While living overseas, the victim of this scam was offered a job in London, so was on the lookout for accommodation without being able to visit the UK.
They submitted an enquiry form to ‘london-citybaseapartments.co.uk’ and were asked to pay a £1,400 deposit by bank transfer to secure a flat.
But that was the last they heard. They called and emailed many times to no avail, so went on to report the matter to their bank and asked for a refund.
Contacing the bank
We asked their bank, Lloyds, whether it planned to refund them. It told us:
“We have a great deal of sympathy for the victim of the scam, and took immediate action to attempt to recover the money as soon as we were alerted. Unfortunately, by this time no funds remained in the account”
Paying by credit or debit card would have given them much stronger protection.
Our advice is to make major payments by card wherever possible.
They made the payment just before most UK banks adopted a voluntary code on dealing with scams, which sadly means they won’t benefit from the more robust rules on who gets a refund.
The account that received the money was with Halifax Bank, also part of Lloyds. This meant Lloyds was able to shut it down and report the account holder to fraud prevention database Cifas.
London Citybase Apartments failed to respond to us, and the site has since been taken down.
Have you ever been instructed to pay for something by bank transfer? Did alarm bells start to ring?
Let us know what happened, and help us make others aware of scams like this.