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Hi all, I  was a victim of fraud / identity fraud from May-June 2018. Three loans were taken out in my name and moved through an unused NatWest account in my name.

Please read until the end - sorry about all the information but I need to know where I stand legally as this is not my debt and I need this dealt with. It seems like a complex case of fraud, I have all emails and letters safe at home.

Loans were taken out by the fraudster from Lending stream, Satsuma loans and 118 118 money and moved through my unused Natwest count.

 

Please see a timeline of events:

I first became aware of the Identity Fraud on the 19th June, when I received a letter to say I am £2,180.35 overdrawn. I then called the bank to question this who say the account is on hold and what they can discuss is limited. 
I then received a bank statement detailing the fraudulent activity on the account (attached). I called again report all this activity is fraudulent. During one of these phone calls I said I lost my bank card but not sure when as the account is not in use.
On the 29th June I received a letter from the Fraud operations regarding investigation and will hear in 10 days.
On the 13th July I received a letter form fraud operations saying the investigation is still ongoing and a full response May take 20 days.
On the 23rd July I received a letter to say the investigation was complete and the account will be closed.
At this point and still believing the account was £2180 overdrawn, being given very vague details on the phone due to the account being on hold and with my wife panicking we drove to Acocks Green branch to speak to an actual person about the fraudulent activity. We were told this is not their department but they looked into the account and said there were now refunds on the account and the balance was now -£305 due to a refund from World Remit over 4 weeks after the transaction was made, and printed us a statement.
Due to this and as I had not been a victim of fraud previously I was unaware of the procedure and believed that NatWest had acted accordingly as now the account was back to where it was before the fraudulent activity and the account had been closed to prevent further fraudulent activity. 
So on the 30th July I then reported this to action fraud and concentrated my efforts on the payday lenders to remove the debt from my name.
We reported the fraud to the payday lenders who started investigations.

Lending steam
Lending stream wrote off the debt immediately as I had actually had a loan off them previously and they could see different details were used by the person who carried out this crime.

Satsuma loans
Satsuma launched an investigation and communicated with NatWest regarding the fraud on the account. We received the following letter on the 7th December:
“Dear Mr Russell
I write further to our previous correspondence dated 24 August 2018 in regards to an application for credit in your name. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.
As part of my investigations, I liaised with NatWest bank who confirmed you had raised concerns in regards to fraudulent activity on your account. NatWest confirmed our Satsuma Loan did credit your account and was subsequently transferred to World Remit LTD. NatWest also confirmed World Remit LTD did issue a refund to your bank account, however we are unable to request for the funds back as your bank has placed an access hold on your account.”
They then went on to say that when this £1000 is transferred back by NatWest the debt will be removed.
The day I received this letter I spent several hours on the phone to both Satsuma and NatWest back and forth to explain that there was not £1000 in the account and that thousands of pounds was moved in and out fraudulently and now the account was back to -£305!
I have since opened a complaint with Satsuma and they recently replied

‘Whilst we are not doubting that you have been a victim of fraud, as we have verification from NatWest that a refund has been received, the fraud team felt it was necessary to ask for the Satsuma loan capital to be returned to us. Upon receipt of this, we would remove all trace of the Satsuma loan in question form your credit file.

I understand from recent conversations that you are unable to do this as your account was left in overdrawn as a result of the fraudulent events. Unfortunately, we are unable to overturn the outcome provided by the Fraud Investigation Team and as such I am unable to uphold this aspect of your complaint.’


118 118 money
I reported the fraud to 118 118 on the 3rd August. I received an email from Rakeem Islam to say this is being looked into and to get in touch (attached). I tried to call Rakeem on several occasions with no reply. I sent an email on the 10th October saying that I have been trying to call but there’s no answer and requested a call back. I also explained that I work night shift so please call after 4pm (attached). I emailed again on the 9th of November to say I still had not been able to get hold of Rakeem and requested an update (attached). I received no correspondence until 24th January when I received a letter from Lantern a debt collection agency, then I discovered 118 118 had sold this debt on. I called up Lantern on the 28th January and explained that I was a victim of fraud, I reported this to 118 118 and they were supposed to be investigating the case. Lantern then passed this debt onto their own fraud team, I sent them all the information including a fraud investigation form.
On the 11th March I received an email from Lantern rejecting claims of fraud and requesting that I set up a payment plan.

 

The NatWest account this money went through is not my main account in which my wages go into and bills go out but a unused account which was overdrawn at the time and I had a payment plan setup with NatWest to clear this debt.

NatWest now state during the recent complaints procedure that ‘I can confirm that our decision to close your account and decline the fraud case remains the same’ on the 29/03/2019. However, this is the first time I have been informed by NatWest that the fraud case has been declined.  I have no correspondence to suggest this at all. In fact none of the letters I have received from NatWest even mention the word fraud, only that they were from the fraud team. So if this was investigated and the fraud case was declined why was this not communicated to myself?

As this fraud case involves multiple companies, and the money was effectively stolen from the pay day loan companies and only moved through the NatWest account, I believed at the time that NatWest acted accordingly. I do not work in banking, I am unaware of the procedures in regards to when fraud and identity fraud is reported. It is only at this stage, after chasing the payday lenders for months on end, and now receiving final responses batting this back to NatWest that I now realise that NatWest did not deal with this appropriately. At no point did I receive any communication from NatWest to say the claims of fraud have been rejected until Friday (29/03/19). If I did I would have dealt with it at the time, but I only received a letter to say the account will be closed and I was fine with this as this would also protect the account from further possible fraud (as they seemed to have taken full control of all aspects of my account).  Also, the day after I received a letter from NatWest to say the investigation was complete, one of the fraudulent transactions from 21 June, was refunded into the account (24 July – over 4 weeks since the money was fraudulently moved) and then the account was brought back to where it was originally, which suggested that the fraud had been looked into and refunds happened as a result. This alongside receiving no other communication regarding the fraud led me to believe they had acted appropriately.

I do not believe this was investigated at all, if this was investigated as suggested then Natwest then they would have found that this was fraud. There seems to be confusion as the letters suggest that the complaint was regarding an account closure.  There is no mention of fraud although I informed NatWest that all the activity was fraudulent.

NatWest will provide no details into this investigation, or any details of any of the fraudulent activity on the account. They are keeping me completely in the dark. I have asked them to conduct a full investigation including IP addresses and CCTV, as one date in particular I was at work (I work permanent nightshift) or I was asleep at home depending on the time that the money was drawn out of the account – they won’t provide this information. The money was moved (from what I can gather from the bank statements) through card transaction, ATM transaction and online transaction. I have asked NatWest how is this possible, and if there was any fraudulent phone calls or visits to branch. Was a new card ordered or online banking details, was the address changed, mobile phone number changed? How was all this money moved so easily? If the address was changed surely to send money to a new recipient requires authorisation? But NatWest have provided no details of anything I have requested.

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