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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14799
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have fallen victim to an APP scam committed by a clone of

Customer Question

Hi, I have fallen victim to an APP scam committed by a clone of Origin Capital (ref FCA website announcement of 26th July).
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I sent the fraudsters a picture of myself holding my passport, supposedly as due diligence on my identity, but they used it to set up a fraudulent account in my name at Ewuaks Connect Ltd.
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: Read Equals Connect Ltd. I have approached Equals Connect to freeze the money, but they have already transferred it to a bank in Dubai and they cannot get the money back. EQ are saying that they followed all the proper procedures and that I didn’t, because all the info I got came from one person. Whilst not entirely true, it seems to me that EQ did the same: they took the picture at face value and allowed the account to be set up. It occurs to me that a simple Zoom call or similar would have definitely prevented the scam, and my question is whether, during recent Covid times, it is not unreasonable to expect a bank to do such a check, whether or not it is in their procedures? After all, it would be pretty easy for anyone to do what this fraudster did. I made the transfer to EQ (in the belief it was going to Origin Capital) from my bank ac at HSBC. They are finalising their response under the APP scam code, but have warned me but to expect anything from them as they only did what I asked. Do you think I might have a case against EQ, who are not signed up to the APP code, and therefore I may have to sue them for allowing a fraudulent use if my name ? Thanks
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think those are the main points. How does this service work on terms of financing it ?
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
It’s in the UK
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 13 days ago.
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hi, please continue looking, thanks
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

The first thing to do is to report this to the Police and to Action Fraud so that you can obtain a crime reference number.

The Action Fraud website where you can report the crime is here: Action Fraud

Next, EQ is authorised and regulated by the FCA - meaning you have protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and you can also avail of the Financial Ombudsman Service dispute resolution scheme - which is much quicker than court action and free to use. You have to go through a complaints procedure first.

You are covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 here which means you have a right to expect a service (from EQ) carried out with reasonable care and skill. Furthermore, the service should be “fit for purpose” and “as described”. If it isn’t then you can allege breach of your consumer rights and breach of contract.

You should now make a formal complaint and if that does not resolve the matter ask them for a "deadlock letter", which is a letter giving their final response.

You can make the complaint by email here:***@******.***

When you do make the complaint, tell them that you plan to report them to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who regulates them. You can reach the FCA to report the insurer on 0800(###) ###-####if you wish. It may speed matters up.

Once you have the deadlock letter the next step would be to escalate this to the Ombudsman - they will investigate and liaise with EQ which would hopefully result in a resolution. They can order EQ to make a financial award for inconvenience if they have acted poorly.

Once you have their final response, you can make the complaint to the Ombudsman here : www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumers/how-to-complain

Or by email:***@******.***

Based on the circumstances, assuming EQ does not uphold your complaint, I am sure the Ombudsman will do. The Ombudsman will look at this case independently and will make a decision based on what happened. Their decision is binding on EQ.

If the Ombudsman did not find in your favour, therefore, you then have the option of suing EQ for breach of your consumer rights and you have up to 6 years to bring a claim to the court (the limitation period is 6 years from your date of loss, to when you need to issue a claim). This is considered as a last resort though - I am sure the Ombudsman will resolve this given the facts.

You should have no reason to sue them and using the courts - that is a last resort however the Ombudsman should be able to resolve this for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hi Jim,
thanks for your detailed response.
I did in fact contact the FO today, and he surprisingly advised me that I couldn't raise a complaint against Equals Connect because this was an "identity theft", and that I would have to complain through my bank, HSBC, from whom I await a final outcome.
I was surprised by this because even in EQ's letter to me it says that if I disagree with their decision I have recourse to the FO...
In any event, if I end up having to take EQ to court I might have a reasonable case using the Consumer Rights Act ? Also, it seems to me that under the MLR 2017, the bank must have a procedure to perform due diligence to ensure that I the person they are dealing with is who they say they are. In my opinion, they didn't fulfil this obligation ? Thanks for your comments
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** Ombudsman does not help then you would need the bank's final response - if their final response does not help you can then return to the FO (as your complaint would then be against the bank and not EQ).
For court action, I would wait for HSBC's final response - if that does not help ask the FO to review - this will take 4 months or so versus 9-12 months for court action.
For a timeframe you have up to 6 years to sue under the CRA 2015.
And yes, agreed with regards ***** *****'s due diligence (or lack thereof) - my view is they failed to perform due diligence here which has led to your loss - the CRA 2015 applies to HSBC too and you have strong protection given you are a consumer.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you very much, most helpful
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

My pleasure, thanks