Money laundering scams on the rise

BEWARE OF MONEY LAUNDERING SCAM.

A WOMAN’S bank accounts have been closed after a stranger put £17,000 into her account in a suspected money-laundering scam.

Darlington mother Amanda Fothergill alerted police after a mystery caller phoned her in May to say a large amount of money had been transferred to her account.

When she checked at a cash machine, her account had an extra £17,200.

Mrs Fothergill, 40, said: “I had no idea who this person was, and I started to get really scared for my family.”

Police believe she was targeted by internet fraudsters, who discovered her card details while she was shopping online. The money was deposited into her account by a caller at a bank in Manchester.

He then rang her and told her that if she transferred £14,000 to another account, she could keep the rest.

Mrs Fothergill said: “The phone call came out of the blue. The man said his name was Patrick and he said I did not know him. He told me to check my bank because he had given me a large sum of money.

“I though it was a joke at first, but when I realised what was happening, I told the bank straight away.”

Her Abbey bank accounts were frozen immediately while investigators from the company began work.

Mrs Fothergill said: “He was phoning me every day and it started to worry me.

“He once texted me and said he would phone me at 4pm.

“My husband happened to be in with me at the time, and he never did call. I started to get paranoid that maybe he was watching the house. I do not usually get scared, but I was this time.”

Police advised Mrs Fothergill to tell the man that they were monitoring her phone calls. She did, and the man never called again. She has now complained to Abbey after it closed her accounts on Friday because its fraud team deemed her too high a risk.

Mrs Fothergill said: “No money ever came out of the account because I told the bank straight away. Abbey never lost any money because I stopped it before it started. I feel like I am being victimised for being a victim.”

An Abbey spokeswoman said last night that the accounts had been closed by mistake and that staff would be in touch to apologise to Mrs Fothergill.

She said: “It does appear that we have made an error in closing this customer’s accounts.

We will be speaking to her to see if there is anything we can do to offer banking facilities again.”

 

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