Dorset

Barclays refunds grandmother's £68k following vishing scam

  • 3 February 2014
  • From the section Dorset
Jenny Parkinson
Image caption Jenny Parkinson lost all her life savings in the phone scam

A grandmother who was tricked out of £68,000 by conmen has spoken of her "delight" at getting her money back.

Jenny Parkinson, 65, from Christchurch, Dorset, was duped into calling what she thought was her bank's fraud unit and moving funds to two "secure" Barclays accounts, which were then emptied.

After she appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), Barclays agreed to a "goodwill" refund.

Police are investigating the "vishing" - voice phishing - scam.

Mrs Parkinson said she had received a phone call in June from a man claiming to be from Tesco Bank, who said her card could have been fraudulently used.

She said she had told the caller she also banked with Santander and he advised her to check her accounts by calling her bank.

'Very dark moments'

FSO investigators said that while Mrs Parkinson had put the phone down but the caller did not hang up, so the line had remained open.

As a result, when she dialled the number for Santander, a different man was already on the other end of the line and claimed to be from the bank's fraud department.

He gave her two account numbers and sort codes and she transferred her savings online while he remained on the phone.

Checks with Santander later revealed the money had been paid into Barclays accounts and withdrawn.

A Santander spokesman said the bank would never ask a customer to transfer funds.

Mrs Parkinson appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for help in September and Barclays agreed to refund her as a "gesture of goodwill".

The 65-year-old said she thought she would "have to learn to live without my life's savings".

"I now feel so much for people who are victims of crime - I am so fortunate.

"There have been very dark moments but it's absolutely incredible.

"I've got my retirement back on track."

FSO spokesman Martyn James said he could not comment on Mrs Parkinson's case but added that any complaint was dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

He said the scam had been "convincing" and called for action by both telecoms companies to remedy the flaw in hanging up phone lines and banks to enforce more checks on large money transfers.

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