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NatWest finally agrees to refund cancer patient who had £14k stolen by scammers

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NatWest has agreed to refund a cancer patient who had more than £14,000 stolen from her bank account by fraudsters after initially saying she would not get any of her money back.

Joanna Stevens, 56, had £14,502 taken from three NatWest accounts after scammers pretending to be from the bank’s fraud team contacted her to say they had identified unusual activity.

The supposed staff member told Mrs Stevens to use her card reader to stop money being taken out of her account. When she logged on to her internet banking, it appeared that money had already started to be moved, so she did as she was instructed.

NatWest at first refused to reimburse her losses on the grounds that she authorised the transaction.

The mum of four, who is undergoing chemotherapy for secondary breast cancer, was told she would not receive a refund and that she would be liable to pay back £14,000 of overdraft money plus interest and charges.

But after got in touch, NatWest u-turned on its decision.

A NatWest spokesperson said: “We sympathise with Mr and Mrs Stevens who have been the victim of a scam and appreciate that this has been a very distressing experience for them. We take our responsibilities to preventing fraud and scams very seriously.

“We have undertaken a further review of this case and will issue the customer with a full refund (including all interest and charges) based on this review and information received.”

When Mrs Stevens asked the caller to verify he was from NatWest, she was told to compare the number on her phone with the number on the back of her debit card and on the bank’s website and the numbers matched. The scammer also read out some of Mrs Steven’s recent debit card activity.

In an initial letter to Mrs Stevens, NatWest said: “Fraudsters use number spoofing software, which in turn, a phone will interpret as a genuine text or call from NatWest. Whilst I note that you are concerned, I hope you can understand that the Bank did not make this call to you and are not responsible for it in any way. The issue is with the way smart phones are designed.”

The bank also said £14,502 leaving her account did not raise any red flags because “it is not unusual for customers to move funds from their accounts”.

Mrs Stevens said: “I felt physically sick when I found out how much had been taken from my accounts and that I’d be liable for it all. I always thought I was fairly savvy. I asked the caller to verify they were from NatWest and they had all the legitimate answers. I’m so relieved this has all been resolved.”

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