Sunday, 25 September 2011

Barclays fraud dept

Driving me mad - they call up from an unavailable number and want to query some transactions. They insist they do not want to ask sensitive information, e.g. ask my age not DoB, etc. But they fail to understand that whatever level of question they are asking is exactly the level of detail Barclays need to verify me, and so if they are not in fact Barclays I am giving exactly that level of detail away to a potential fraudster!

And they have blocked my on-line banking. It is a pain in the arse. I use the on-line banking to keep a very close eye on my account. If there was anything odd (which has happened once before on a debit card) I spot it right away. But I can't now check what is happening because they have blocked access. Madness.

What really pisses me off is their insistence that they are protecting me not protecting them. If someone impersonates me by some means and fools the bank in to transferring money then it is the bank that been defrauded and not me. When one person lies to another for gain, they are defrauding them. The fact someone lies and pretends to be me does not make them me, and does not mean the bank would be correct to give my money away on their request. The bank would have to reimburse me as the bank will have acted incorrectly. So it is not me being defrauded and is not, in the long run, me that is being protected. One could argue that in the short term, having money transferred away, is inconvenient, and they are protecting me from that short term inconvenience, but not if that protection is in fact the cause of significant inconvenience.

The only way it could be protecting me is if the cause was a breach of contract by myself by giving details to some third party to allow someone to impersonate me. Ironically the very sort of thing a unknown caller pretending to be the bank may be asking me!

It really pisses me off - I told them I would be charging for my time calling them back. 15 minutes on the call so far. We'll see what happens when I send them the bill.

P.S. After 20 minutes they tell me that even though the fraud dept have blocked the account and even though they are clearly working on a Sunday, that we cannot call them. Total incompetence by Barclays.


  1. Halifax used to do that to me.. except they wouldn't even have the guts to have a human call - it'd be a bot. They seemed to have a speciality of doing it late on Friday just before they closed for the weekend so I couldn't call back until Monday... during which time I had no access to money. I changed banks. Touch wood, have had no issues with new bank.

    HSBC did the opposite at work - someone called them claiming to be one of the directors, then using freely available information (which being directors is quite a lot) proceeded to change the address of the company and transfer a large sum out. The 'fraud dept' didnt even query this. The only reason they were caught was they transferred it to their own account...*

    * I say 'caught' - the bank refused to get the police involved.. bad for PR.

  2. Sounds like you'd better move your porn site subscriptions to a different card! If you don't, you'll get the hassle every time your horse porn comes up for renewal.

  3. Conditioning customers to be used to anonymous callers asking for their banking secrets and having to give them - make a record so you can list the incidents in court when Barclays refuse to refund you after a loss.

  4. Quite - and this blog serves as such a note :-)

  5. Hmm. That's a good point.

    If I make a habit of refusing to talk to my bank when they call me, then I can hardly complain when/if they refuse to refund me after an 'incident'.

    On the other hand, if I make a point of freely talking to my bank when I am called from an anonymous number, the bank can't claim that I was at fault if one of those calls wasn't really from the bank and resulted in my account being cleared out.

    So, the best course of action is to assume that anybody who calls me in the same way that my bank calls me is genuinely my bank and dish out my private information willy-nilly.