Scam victim deliberately misled bank about reasons for payments

Common scams targeting bank customers,
In February 2021, Jolene was contacted online by a person she did not know telling her that she had won a Facebook lottery competition and gave instructions to redeem her winnings of $500,000. The scammer became manipulative and aggressive and told Jolene she had to make some international money transfers first. When Jolene tried to make the transfers, which totalled $20,000, her bank rang asking about the purpose of the payments.
February 2023

She said she was organising an overseas trip to bury her mother's ashes, and the bank released the money. The scammer continued to demand Jolene make further payments over the next eight months. The bank rang Jolene several times asking about the payments, and she gave various explanations. It was not until January 2022 that Jolene came clean with the bank and asked it to reimburse her for her losses. The bank refused. It said it had no way of knowing Jolene had been scammed, adding that it had made all appropriate enquiries each time it had been concerned about a payment.

Our investigation

We reviewed all the transactions and correspondence during the year in question and found that on each occasion the bank had become concerned about a payment, it had called Jolene to ask about the purpose of the payment. It had explained to her the importance of ensuring the legitimacy of the recipient herself and warned that it might not be able to recover the funds if something went wrong. On each occasion, Jolene assured the bank she had authorised the transaction and often gave a very detailed explanation about how the transaction was legitimate. However, we could not. Nor could we find that the bank had acted wrongly.


We did not uphold her complaint.

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