Unauthorised Cash Withdrawal from Account. Fraud or Error?

  Cara2 17:25 08 Mar 15
Locked
Answered

£500 has been withdrawn from my account from a branch of the bank. This account has no card/chequebook etc. In fact it is a sub-account of the main account and has different account number.

The matter is with the fraud department but whilst waiting for feedback (and hopefully refund!)I am inclined to believe it is a bank error rather than fraud as I cannot imagine how the Photo ID, in particular, was obtained.

So how easy is it for the bank teller to make an error and take the money from the wrong account? Are account numbers very similar for instance? What is in place for this to be prevented?

Any banking people out there who can advise whilst I wait on tenterhooks!

  tullie 17:36 08 Mar 15

Wait for the banks reply

  Forum Editor 19:01 08 Mar 15

Provided you didn't authorise a withdrawal, and you didn't negligently disclose any passwords or other security check information you should have nothing to worry about - it was your money, and the bank must make it good.

In any event, the branch concerned must have had good reason to think that the person withdrawing the funds was you, and as it wasn't, they paid out in error.

If nobody withdrew the money the bank has made a data entry error. Either way, you shouldn't lose any sleep over it.

  bumpkin 19:37 08 Mar 15

Fraud I would think. If it was a mistake they are unlikely to admit it anyway. If it was fraud then as much as they don't like it they will have to suffer the loss not yourself. So whatever you will get back your money unless you willingly disclosed personal details, the emphasis being on willingly.

  lotvic 20:09 08 Mar 15

"how easy is it for the bank teller to make an error and take the money from the wrong account?"

Don't know about that, but my bank changed my address for my Credit Card and was sending my monthly statements to a stranger. It only came light when I applied for a Passport and passport office phoned me to ask some security questions and because of my answers they advised me I might have been subject to ID theft/fraud. They gave me no clues as to what, where, why and I had everything to check before I found it was my Credit Card address. Caused a nightmare at the time to sort out.

When I finally got an explanation from the Bank, it was an operative in Sri Lanka had input wrong account number when changing someone else's address.

  bumpkin 20:50 08 Mar 15

I did have an American Express card once but rarely used it as a lot of places would not accept it as the charges were too high. I used it ocassionally to buy petrol, a long time ago in the days of getting the bill by post and sending back a cheque. They phoned me out of the blue and asked for clearance of £4000 to a HiFi retailer which I of course refused, then they asked if I had bought petrol that day from a certain garage miles away which I had not. They said that the card must have been cloned but the petrol payment had gone through and they would block the £4000 one. I was refunded for the petrol payment but never did find out who lost out in the end.

  Secret-Squirrel 21:07 08 Mar 15

Cara, because it was an in-branch transaction there'll be a CCTV recording with a time code. If the bank are adamant it was you who withdrew the money then you should ask for proof in the form of a photo taken from the recording.

  Cara2 21:42 08 Mar 15

Thank you all for replies.

Yes, I asked about CCTV and was told there will be some, so that is indeed an option.

Customer Services (India or the like) were particularly reassuring and helpful as far as they could go. In fact they immediately deposited £30 into my account to cover phone calls which was quite good as at this stage, although I know it's not my transaction - the bank haven't yet reached that conclusion. Fraud Dept were, perhaps, not quite as keen to reassure as such, but told me to expect feedback within 5 days. When I pushed for assurances, this timescale was further clarified and I was told "usually around 5 days" - so no guarantee as to time wise.

Am not overly concerned at this stage - just curious. Will let you know the outcome.

  chub_tor 21:56 08 Mar 15

I had a similar experience a few years back when it was possible to withdraw money from an account with only a paper withdrawal slip. Two weeks running someone went into the branch and withdrew 50 pounds from my account. I didn't notice it until I checked my on-line banking and then immediately went to the branch and queried the transaction. It took them a few days to sort it out but it turned out that someone with an account numbered very close to mine had inadvertently transposed the numbers of their account and had taken money from my account. The bank repaid me the money and added an extra 50 pounds for their mistake. Since then they have changed the withdrawal system and now they require more positive identification before funds can be withdrawn from an account.

  Cara2 00:26 13 Mar 15

To recap, reported unauthorised withdrawal on Sunday. This took some considerable time etc., and customer services deposited £30 into my account for phone call and inconvenience etc.

Barclays Customer Services escalated to Fraud department, however I was dealt with via Complaints department. Phoned Monday but heard nothing back until Wednesday when I made another call. Thereon another employee took another look to see if she could spot something to shed light on the matter. I did get feedback today but only to say as yet they had no feedback. But at least this was feedback of a kind!

Checked my account this evening and money has been refunded. I can only assume this has been a data error. (I had been given a case number and access to 'trackit' which has been neither use nor ornament as no updates via that avenue). Hopefully, I will know more tomorrow as to why the money was taken from my account. Meanwhile £500 was missing from 4th March until replaced 12th March.

Do you think I am entitled to a goodwill payment under the circumstances or should I accept these things happen? Advice at this stage as to what (if anything) would be acceptable would be really helpful.

  Forum Editor 08:04 13 Mar 15
Answer

"..should I accept these things happen?"

Perhaps you should. They do happen, no matter how much a bank might try to prevent it. There are millions of successful transactions every day, but occasionally things do go wrong. The important thing is that a bank acts to put things right as soon as possible, and prevents unnecessary hardship or inconvenience.

The sting is in that last sentence, and in the end it comes down to a definition - what is hardship to one person might only be a minor irritation to another. Had that £500 been the only money you had, and had its absence resulted in say, your electricity being cut off because you couldn't pay your bill you might have been placed in a position of extreme hardship. In that (unlikely) scenario you might look to the bank to compensate you in some way.

We live in a compensation culture - pretty well every error on the part of a financial institution invites the question 'Am I entitled to some money by way of compensation?'. Your bank might well respond by making a goodwill gesture, but banks are aware that one such gesture can unleash a flood of claims, and they are very careful.

My personal view is that yes, you were without this money for a week, but it was obviously a genuine error on the part of your bank, and they have rectified it. I would feel inclined to move on, but that doesn't mean you should feel the same way - it's entirely your call.

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