The Bank of Mum and Dad is so easy to contact – even by fraudsters

It seems banks can’t win. They are either too cautious or they are simply not doing enough – but we were actually quite pleased to hear how one banking institution stepped in just in time to protect one man’s money from fraudsters.

Bank of mum and dad – always open

Colin South was all too ready to hand over £950 his daughter. Only, it wasn’t his daughter he was sending the money to.

He’d received a text asking him to transfer the money urgently from someone he believed was his daughter, Claire. In the past, Claire had asked to borrow money so this wasn’t an unusual request – and has always returned any money borrowed quickly, so Colin was only too keen to help.

In a recent article in the Sunday Times, he said: “The Bank of Mum and Dad is always easy to contact.”

There were a few red flags

Colin South was not suspicious at any time. The mobile number wasn’t recognised as Claire’s, however, she’d just got a new job so believed it to be her work mobile phone. Adding to that the previous occasions Claire had asked to borrow money, Colin didn’t even see the warning signs – until he began to make the payment.

At first, Colin noticed the payment had not been made after 3 hours of him authorising the transfer. Colin’s bank, First Direct, asked him to contact them regarding the payment and he, growing increasingly frustrated, insisted it was a genuine transaction.

Thank goodness the bank knew better.

They asked Colin standard questions, like, had he made the payment himself, had he been guided into making the payment and had he been asked to download any software.

Even though by this point Colin was angry that the bank was preventing him making what he believed was a genuine payment, First Direct did not authorise it until he had spoken to Claire and she had confirmed that she had asked for it.

Thankfully, that was all it took and Colin was prevented from having his money stolen.

There have been 1,774 so-called “mum and dad scams” since January 2022.

Out of those cases, victims have lost more than £1.96 million, with the average loss about £1,800.

It’s costly for banks too, as they returned £153 million to victims of app fraud in the first half of 2023 alone. Even though First Direct are to be congratulated, it is in their interest, along with other banks, to prevent as many of these frauds occurring as possible.

It’s also a worry for vulnerable family members as they might be more likely to fall for the scam.

Fraudsters are targeting older and more vulnerable members of society, but any parent will believe they are doing the right thing in answering a call for help from their child, no matter how old they are.

If you’re worried, make sure your Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) documents are up to date, as extremely vulnerable people will be protected – the fraudsters will not be able to access cash without your say so. And, if you are the son or daughter that fraudster is claiming to be, it will be obvious if they try on the mum and dad scam with you!

To draft or update your will or LPA, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Liz Dalgetty

Liz Dalgetty

Consultant Solicitor & Notary Public

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502251

Office: Dorking Office

Email: [email protected]