Annual Financial Awareness Campaign
18-24 March 2024

Isabella and Adam were unaware of the fraudulent transactions occurring on their account

Isabella and Adam are a couple in their seventies with a joint bank account that was only used for the lodgement of a small pension and to pay an insurance premium once a month.

Over a two-month period there were multiple transactions on the account (206 in total), some as small as €2.29 going up to around €100. Some days there were up to 20 transactions. Isabella and Adam did not use online banking and relied on bi-monthly statements to monitor the account. Their bank’s fraud department looked at the transactions as they were happening and decided that they were legitimate, as the money was going to legitimate merchants.

The bank reviewed the transactions a second time and again decided that the payments were legitimate, even though they were unlike the normal banking activity of the account. The bank did not contact Isabella and Adam to check that the transactions had been authorised by them.

The two months of spending totalled approximately €2,000, emptying the account. When the account was empty, the premium for the insurance policy failed and the insurance company contacted Isabella to tell her she owed it a payment. This was when Isabella and Adam became aware of the activity on their account.

The bank focused on whether Isabella and Adam had given anyone access to their bank cards and account. However, Isabella and Adam felt very strongly that the activity on the account and the merchants paid were completely out of character for them, and that most of the money could have been saved if the bank had contacted them to check if the payments were authorised by them or not.

During mediation, the bank came to share this view and agreed to pay Isabella and Adam any payments that had not already been refunded to them. Isabella and Adam agreed to accept this in full and final settlement of their complaint.