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Internet Fraud paid £6k being asked to pay £6k again.


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Hi Everyone, I hope someone can help me. I have found myself caught up in events through no fault of my own. I will try to keep the facts brief but there is a lot going on.

 

Back in February I contacted a local company (in Scotland) that had been recommended to me and asked them to quote for replacement double glazed windows. The sales director provided the quotes to me by email. I accepted them.

 

The work was carried out at the end of May and I was very please with the results.

 

I received the invoice on 2nd June asking me for immediate payment unless I was a trade member.

The invoice didn't give me any details as to how I could pay and there were no terms and conditions on the back.

 

I sent an email to the sales director using the email address he had sent the quotes to me on.

I received a response from him giving me the bank details and I went online and paid using the faster payments system.

 

The next day I received an email from him telling me the payment had not been received.

I was then led a merry dance between him and the banks trying to find out where my money had gone.

My bank did a faster payment trace which I received on 20th June.

 

In the meantime I had become suspicious of the emails and I phoned the company to ask for the best email address to send the faster payment trace to them on.

 

They gave me their office email address and I sent the trace through telling them they could now put pressure on Barclays.

 

The immediately replied asking me why they should do this when their bank was Bank of Scotland.

 

I forwarded the emails from the sales director and they denied all knowledge of them.

I have looked and looked at the emails and the addresses are exactly the same.

 

So either someone is lying or someone has been very clever.

 

I reported the matter to the police immediately.

 

I have now received a letter from the company's solicitors asking me to pay up, even though I have already paid.

 

They are saying that the company are not at fault for this fraud.

But what if the fraud is being committed by someone within the company?

 

I feel I have been let down by the banks, who only check two unique identifiers and didn't check the account name

I had provided and had also opened and operated a fraudulent account.

And that surely this company should have ensured that their security systems protected me.

 

But it seems that I have not been protected at all and I am told that my contract is with the company and I still owe them that money.

 

If it was a small amount of money I would pay it just to get relief from all the stress but double glazed windows don't come cheap

and I can't see how it can possibly be right that I should be made to pay again when this is not my fault.

 

I am at my wits end and the whole thing is making me ill. Any advice would be very gratefully appreciated.

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Have you checked the email headers for all the emails. That will tell you if the emails originated from the company or not.

 

Does the account you sent the money to actually belong to the company ? If it belongs to the company, give them all the information you have (emails and receipts) and tell them to trace the payment.

If it doesn't, give all the info to the police and action fraud.

 

The main thing is not to worry about it too much. If it does end up in court, you have plenty of information to back you up.

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Yes I've checked the email headers.

 

They're complicated but the IP address is the same and the email address is the same.

The police have traced the bank account to Blackpool and they have seen that my money was received into that account the day after I sent it.

 

I haven't been told who the account belongs to.

 

Do I need to contact action fraud as well as the Scottish police (who have already provided me with a case number?

 

The police files are currently being sent to Blackpool police who will take over the case.

 

I'm told it may take months before they contact me.

 

I phoned my insurance to ask to speak to solicitors for free legal advice and all they told me was that the money is still owing to the company

and I will have to pay it.

 

Doesn't the contract become null and void if there is fraud involved?

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Yes I've checked the email headers. They're complicated but the IP address is the same and the email address is the same. The police have traced the bank account to Blackpool and they have seen that my money was received into that account the day after I sent it. I haven't been told who the account belongs to. Do I need to contact action fraud as well as the Scottish police (who have already provided me with a case number? The police files are currently being sent to Blackpool police who will take over the case. I'm told it may take months before they contact me. I phoned my insurance to ask to speak to solicitors for free legal advice and all they told me was that the money is still owing to the company and I will have to pay it. Doesn't the contract become null and void if there is fraud involved?

 

The contract doesn't become null and void.

 

If the email came from their email system : was it from an employee?

 

If so, your argument is instead that you paid they money to an agent of the company, using the details provided by them from the company's email addresses.

Thus it was paid to an agent of the company holding it on trust for the company, and it is them who the company should be going after.

 

The company is vicariously liable for the action of its employees acting in its course of business.

You can argue that asking for invoice payments is an act within a course of business (even if doing so as a fraud is an unauthorised act / unauthorised mode of an authorised act).

 

If they claim against you, note that you will counterclaim making them vicariously liable for the acts of the employer : you'll pay them the £6k with one hand, but grab it back with the other!

 

If they claim instead it was not an employee and thus they are not vicariously liable : go for contributory negligence - they are responsible if they left their system so insecure as to allow a non-employee both to find out enough about the contract to know the details, and to send the emails from their system.

 

You can also note that if this is the case : the have allowed your personal information to "leak" from their system : are they registered with the Information Commissioner as a data processor, and has their data controller let the Information Commissioner know about the potential breach of the DPA of your data not being held securely?

 

You might also mention that you would let the ICO know of events, and that you aren't sure if anyone else's data leaked or was misused ...... (Either if it was an employee or a non-company third party)

 

Don't state this in such a way as to create a threat, but you can do it in such a way as to leave them knowing that to come after you will leave them with no gain, but a world of grief.

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might be a blessing for this to goto court

 

you've paid so you cant lose!!

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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The contract doesn't become null and void.

 

If the email came from their email system : was it from an employee?

 

Yes. The company is a Ltd company and the email was from the sales director who would be on the directors payroll and an employee of the company. He is denying all knowledge of the email containing the bank details. The problem is that it is a family company and they are going to be supportive of him and believe what he says. I have been told by the police that they have checked the company's computers and they haven't been hacked. But this man also uses an iPhone (as stated on the emails re the original quotes) and probably has a computer at home. I don't think these have been checked. The only difference between the quote emails and the bank emails is the font. This tells me it has come from a different computer. I have been told about 'spoofing' which I need to research to see if there are any clues. I don't know if the police will investigate or if they will just go after whoever owns that bank account without checking if they have any links to the company.

 

Thank you so much BazzaS for your reply. At least I know how to argue back now and they are good strong arguments. This is so different from just being told that I haven't completed the contract with the company and I will have to pay up. Your reply has given me some peace of mind and I actually managed to get a good nights sleep last night. Today I am ready to fight.

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Yes. The company is a Ltd company and the email was from the sales director who would be on the directors payroll and an employee of the company. He is denying all knowledge of the email containing the bank details. The problem is that it is a family company and they are going to be supportive of him and believe what he says. I have been told by the police that they have checked the company's computers and they haven't been hacked. But this man also uses an iPhone (as stated on the emails re the original quotes) and probably has a computer at home. I don't think these have been checked. The only difference between the quote emails and the bank emails is the font. This tells me it has come from a different computer. I have been told about 'spoofing' which I need to research to see if there are any clues. I don't know if the police will investigate or if they will just go after whoever owns that bank account without checking if they have any links to the company.

 

Thank you so much BazzaS for your reply. At least I know how to argue back now and they are good strong arguments. This is so different from just being told that I haven't completed the contract with the company and I will have to pay up. Your reply has given me some peace of mind and I actually managed to get a good nights sleep last night. Today I am ready to fight.

 

Just to clarify : the email was from a company e-mail account, then? (rather than a forgery that was never on / from their system)?

 

We still don't know if was created by an employee or an outsider.

 

We don't know if it was from the sales director (go the vicarious liability route) or someone else hacking their system (go the contributory negligence / data security route - both that they could send email from their system, and know enough about your dealings with the company to put in the email......)

 

Either way, I feel you have grounds to mount a robust defence.

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Thread moved to the appropriate forum.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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Just to be totally clear - you received the account details from the email address listed on their sales invoice? And you are sure of this?

 

If that is right, then I don't think you should pay. I think you should send a screenshot of the email you received (showing where it came from), and evidence that payment was made to that account, to the company's solicitors. I also feel that this would be a robust defence if it reached court.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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Just to be totally clear - you received the account details from the email address listed on their sales invoice? And you are sure of this?

 

No. The original quote was provided to me via email from the sales director. I used this trusted email address to get the bank details. I have forwarded this email (plus the quote email) to the solicitor to show that the email addresses are exactly the same, along with screenshots of the bank payment screen and my bank statement.

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Another aspect of this fraud is that the banks have failed to protect me but are denying all responsibility. Trading Standards pointed out this statement on the Financial Ombudsman's website -

 

"The Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS), now called UK Payments Administration, published some best practice guidelines in 2007. These say that businesses should make it clear to consumers that the sort code and account

number ("unique identifiers") are used to process the payment, rather than the name of the payee, which most businesses do not check. This may be done by a short prominent warning: -

• on the payment form;

• on the screen for electronic payments; or

• another method according to the institution's risk policy."

 

I complained to my bank but they refuse to accept responsibility even though there were no warnings at all. I have now escalated the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

 

I also reported the fraud to the receiving bank's fraud squad. I received this reply yesterday -

 

"We're sorry that you've had to contact us about a transfer made to a Barclay's account. We apologise for the delay in responding however we have now completed our investigation and so can provide you with our full response. We take any allegation of fraud very seriously, and where fraud is confirmed or highly suspected on the part of our account holders, the relevant accounts are subject to immediate closure and funds removal.

 

What this means for you.

 

At the time your funds were received into this account, we had no knowledge or suspicions that this was anything other than a legitimate account. Although we can confirm that the account into which you transferred money has now been closed, no funds were remaining at the time that we were made aware of your situation. For this reason Barclays is unable to return any money to you.

 

We appreciate that this is not the outcome which you will have wanted. We can confirm that in opening and managing accounts, it complies with all regulatory requirements including in respect of identification and verification. However, we have no way of knowing that an account holder will be using the account for fraudulent purposes. Barclays does regularly review and adapt its processes in order to minimise these risks in the future.

 

Please accept this as our final findings based on all the information we have relating to your claim."

 

What they fail to mention is that they didn't check the account name I specified. If they had they would've discovered an error and my money would've been returned. :-x

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