Crypto scammers stole £55,000 from my father | Consumer rights

During the pandemic my 75-year-old father was targeted by scammers via email and WhatsApp who convinced him they were investment managers who could develop his life savings of £55,000 into a fantastic sum by investing in cryptocurrency.

He had recently retired and was worried he had not saved enough for his, and my mother’s, retirement, so was easy prey. He also has very little nous and gave the scammers, an outfit called MyCoinBanking, his account details including sort codes and account numbers.

The result was he lost the lot. I only found out when I completed his last tax return as he had been too embarrassed to tell us.

We filed a fraud claim with Barclays and its final decision was to reimburse him half of what was taken. Its rationale was he must share liability.

We are so upset. My dad is the victim. We are angry that Barclays would tell my dad – who struggles to use a mobile or the internet – that he is to blame. I think it has a duty of care.

The scammers were known to Barclays, so it should have flagged these transactions. That it didn’t is a failure on its part and it should give a full refund.

My parents now have very little money and are fearful about the future.

VS, Woking

Fraud levels have soared in recent years with the Financial Ombudsman Service, which mediates between consumers and companies, just this week warning of a rise in savers falling for fake investment schemes.

The scammers who targeted your father promised bumper returns to fund a comfortable retirement. Instead, they emptied his account.

We asked Barclays to review your father’s case but, unfortunately, it has not changed its mind. It has arrived at what is called a “shared blame” decision, which means there are elements of both customer and bank blame. This is why your father received a 50% refund of £27,500.

Barclays says the Financial Conduct Authority published an online warning about MyCoinBanking in 2019 (your father was targeted in October 2020) and this was available to find if due diligence was done before the investments began.

It says it also flagged several payments, and had scam conversations with him, but he approved them. As these conversations were in a branch it does not have transcripts to be certain the questions asked were sufficient.

Barclays says the fraud claim was thoroughly investigated and, with no new information, its position is unchanged. Your father has the right to seek an independent review by the ombudsman. You have applied for one but, as an indication of the scale of the problem, have been told the wait is at least four months due to the number of cases it is handling.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected] or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

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