/ Scams

Monzo spoofing scam: how we helped a victim get their money back

After an initial plodding response, Monzo refunded a fraud victim in full. Here’s how we helped, and why banks have a responsibility to protect your money.

The last thing Scott wanted to hear after being furloughed was that his bank account had been targeted by fraudsters.

He received emails, calls and texts from his bank, Monzo, all warning that his account needed to be secured.

Scott was initially sceptical, but the caller was professional, calling from the digital bank’s phone number, and insisted his money was at risk. Scott carefully checked all the details before reluctantly handing over his account information.

He was horrified to later discover that all his money – £12,000 – had vanished. The emails were convincing fakes, and the calls and texts were spoofs created by scammers.

‘I’m savvy about these things, but the set up was so slick,’ said Scott.

Contacting the bank

He contacted Monzo immediately for help and was stunned by its response. He told us that its customer services ‘filled him with fear and uncertainty’ about whether he would get his money back.

“There was no support or empathy. I was made to feel it was my fault, and that the bank probably wasn’t going to do anything about it, I didn’t expect violins, but I did expect reassurance. I thought Monzo would be on my side”

Scott heard nothing from Monzo for weeks, despite him following up his initial complaint several times. After getting nowhere and being worried that he would never get his money back, Scott turned to Which? for advice on what he could do next.

We told Scott that he should be reimbursed by Monzo because he hadn’t given permission to make the transaction. He wrote to Monzo demanding a refund. Only then did Monzo reimburse Scott for the full amount, plus compensation for the inconvenience.

In response to a call for comment on Scott’s case, Monzo said:

“It is clear cut that Scott was entitled to his money back. We never declined his request. We just took too long sorting this out. We have apologised and compensated him for this”

Protecting your money

Banks have a responsibility to protect your money and they should do everything within their power to recover losses that are due to fraud.

In this case, the transaction was unauthorised and therefore had to be refunded in accordance with the Payment Services Regulations.

These are the same regulations that cover you if your card is lost or stolen and used fraudulently.

Sometimes banks might attempt to wriggle out of reimbursing customers in these situations, but you should never be held accountable if you can prove you didn’t give permission to send the money, as was the case with Scott.

Have you struggled to get your money back after a sophisticated scam?

Comments
Dermot says:
27 March 2021

What about royal mail demands for package payments when no package has been sent

Dermot – You might find the following Conversation covers your concerns –
https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/royal-mail-fake-website-text-scam-warning/

It’s mostly about a common scam where people are getting false demands for money – purporting to come from the Royal Mail – for delivering non-existent parcels.

Yvette Taylor says:
29 March 2021

I was caught by the fake Royal Mail Scam. But I also questioned if it was real. Up to now, no reply. I think it’s ‘People’ who’re down on Their luck while this ‘Pandemic is on.

Joan Evans says:
1 April 2021

If you don’t recognise the number let it go to answer phone

Iain Fergusson says:
1 April 2021

One thought that occurred to me when confronted with a scam demand is to query – to myself and to the caller – whether the caller would normally know my telephone number. The most recent call I had was from “Open Reach” who were claiming that there was a problem with my router and that to fix this they needed to have access to my PC. I doubt very much if OR know my mobile number nor if there is a problem with my router for which they are not responsible. Same with the Microsoft and Amazon Prime scams. Putting this point to the caller usually results in the conversation being terminated by them.

Sheila Barnes says:
8 April 2021

I had a text from Royal Mail – there was a phone no. On it, so I texted back “What parcel?” I have not received a reply.