Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday investigator, fighting readers’ corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those left behind. Find out how to contact him below.
Mrs KA writes: Our premium bond accounts have been infiltrated by fraudsters.
My husband and I found out when our bank account received Â£ 22,000 which was a complete mystery.
The bank said the money came from premium bonds, and then I found out that my NS&I account was Â£ 22,000 missing.
Infiltrated: Premium bond scammers broke into two NS&I accounts and took Â£ 22,000
Tony Hetherington replies: Scammers are supposed to be smart and cunning. The scammers who tried to steal from you were simply incompetent.
They managed to get into your NS&I account. They asked NS&I to cash in Â£ 22,000 of your premium bonds. And then, instead of transferring the loot to their own bank account, they mistakenly sent the entire Â£ 22,000 to your bank account.
By the time you checked, the crooks had realized their mistake. They had removed your bank from the premium bond records and inserted an account they controlled at Clydesdale Bank.
You reported this to NS&I and you were told that you and your husband must have gone to a fake National Savings website and given all of your contact details – which you are denying.
Your husband asked how someone could have answered your confidential questions, which are used to verify who is accessing an account. It turned out that at least one question was answered incorrectly, but NS&I allowed the scammer to continue.
When your husband checked his own premium bond account, he found that Â£ 19,000 of his bonds had been cashed and the money was on its way to Halifax, where he did not have an account.
He immediately contacted NS&I but ran into a big problem as the crooks had not only changed the linked bank account but also the confidential questions of the test. Your husband was unable to respond, so he was banned from his own NS&I account.
Fortunately, NS&I staff were worried enough to stop the Â£ 19,000 transfer.
I asked NS&I officials if there was any indication as to how two accounts could have been viewed by someone who apparently knew how to log in while appearing to be both you and your husband.
All I can tell you is that there was no sign of any details leaking from inside NS&I. However, you are correct that one of the crooks gave the wrong answer to a security question.
NS&I told me, âWhen answering security questions, if a customer answers a question incorrectly, they will be prompted for another question. ”
It says this is standard industry procedure, allowing customers to make a real mistake before locking them out.
NS&I offered to reset your accounts with new security credentials, but you and your husband refused and decided to close your accounts.
In good hands? : As part of the government-backed deposit protection program, landlords and rental agents hand over tenant deposits for safekeeping.
My fight for the ten-year deposits
CJ writes: I’m having trouble getting the deposit protection service to reimburse deposits that I deposited over ten years ago.
Trying to solve this problem with service is like stepping into molasses.
I have written and spoken with the staff a number of times, but the DPS seems to follow a standard script, asking for information that I have already given.
Tony Hetherington replies: Under the government-backed deposit protection program, landlords and rental agents return tenants’ deposits to a safe place until the rental ends satisfactorily, when the program returns the money to the people. tenants.
And that’s the point: the regime makes the money. As you discovered after mistakenly reimbursing your tenants personally, you may have a hard time getting the DPS money back.
You provided statutory declarations explaining what had happened, but came to nothing, and by that time the tenants had moved out and had no interest in fixing your problem and not theirs. That didn’t mean the DPS had to keep the money, of course. But he hasn’t shown any signs of returning either, so far.
He told me: “The law sets very clear parameters for processing deposit requests and payments as well as validating landlord and tenant information, including explicitly stating that landlords should never use their own money. to protect a tenant’s deposit. ”
However, the project managers should have sorted this out sooner. They have now apologized and handed you over Â£ 2,500.
An energy company’s Â£ 150 for this nightmare is not enough
Mrs ES writes: We moved into a new property in 2016 and I contacted Scottish Power to set up a dual fuel direct debit.
I was told there was no need to take any action yet, and he would be in touch. After three unsuccessful attempts to set up a direct debit, I saved some money and waited for the company to contact me.
His first communication was a debt collection letter, with the threat of a visit from his agents, plus visitation fees.
Scottish Power used debt collector to threaten agent visit and visitation fees
Tony Hetherington replies: Forgive me for publishing only the first sentences of your letter, which only cover the beginning of a nightmarish experience.
When the collection letter arrived you called Scottish Power and found that there had been a confusion between your address and your meter number. However, you have paid the entire bill, and you have successfully set up a direct debit.
Everything was fine until 2020, when a letter arrived saying, “Welcome to your new home.” This was closely followed by a demand for Â£ 2,579, reportedly for gas that has been in use since 2016.
The request showed a brand new account number. When you contacted Scottish Power you were told that your own gas meter number actually belongs to another property nearby.
You filed a complaint but after that the demands poured in even though you were still making monthly payments to Scottish Power. No one was willing or able to sort through the wrong account numbers, meter numbers or addresses.
At one point, Scottish Power refused to speak to you, insisting that you lived at the âwrongâ address.
Then last March he closed your account, reopened it under a different number and claimed you owed Â£ 994 because the monthly payments he collected had been credited to your original account. You ended up with five different account numbers and complained to the Energy Ombudsman.
Scottish Power told me that there is a widespread problem in your subdivision, with meter numbers not matching addresses and a number of different vendors trying to unravel this mess.
After I contacted the officials, it froze the requests. He has since closed your gas account, waived the charges, and put away your dual fuel account.
He reinstated your direct debit and credited you Â£ 150 as what he describes as a goodwill gesture. Frankly I think it’s way too little but at least the nightmare is over – I hope.
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or send an email [emailÂ protected] Due to the high volume of requests, personal responses cannot be given. Please send only copies of the original documents, which we regret that we cannot be returned.
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