Delay had no bearing on recovery attempt

Common scams targeting bank customers,
In March 2021, Ruby was the victim of an invoice scam. An email purportedly from her builder directed her to pay an outstanding invoice of $30,000 to a new account. She followed the instructions, and found out she had been scammed when her builder said a week later that he hadn't received the payment. Ruby tried to call her bank but could not get through. She called the recipient bank, which contacted her bank. It tried to recover her funds, but the person who had received them had been duped into passing them on. Only $1,500 of Ruby’s money was left, and this was returned to her. The police looked into the matter, but the scammer was overseas and outside their jurisdiction. They looked into whether the person who had received Ruby’s money was involved in the scam but declined to prosecute this individual because he had an intellectual disability.

Ruby wanted the receiving bank to be held to account for not querying its customer when he received the $30,000, and also for not stopping him from passing on the funds.
June 2022

We explained to Ruby that we can look only at complaints from individuals about their bank. She hadn’t received any service from the recipient bank and so we couldn’t consider any complaint about that bank. She therefore complained about the service she had received from her own bank after discovering the scam, saying she had been unable to reach it when she initially tried to contact it. She also considered the bank had not kept her adequately updated during the investigation. She could not understand why only $1,500 had been recovered, and felt the bank could have done more to try to get her money back.

Our investigation

The bank told us a technical problem had prevented Ruby from reaching it when she first tried. However, she had been able to contact the receiving bank, which alerted her bank only a few hours later. We looked at whether this delay could have had any effect on whether the recovery of her funds. The police told us the recipient had already passed on the money by the time Ruby realised she had been scammed and tried to reach her bank. As a result, the few hours’ delay made no difference how much the bank could recover. The bank acknowledged, however, that its service could have been better and offered Ruby $1,000.


Ruby accepted the bank's offer.

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