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Money returned to internet banking scam pensioner Michael McCartan

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 23/02/2016

Michael McCartan in his Dunmurry home
Michael McCartan in his Dunmurry home

A Belfast pensioner who was cruelly duped of nearly £1,000 in an internet banking scam has claimed victory over the faceless thieves who stole his money.

Michael McCartan has received all of the money back that was taken from his and his wife's Christmas pension payments in a cyber con.

Danske Bank - where Mr McCartan had banked with for over 46 years - initially told him that it would not refund the stolen £970 as he had failed to protect himself sufficiently from online fraudsters.

But after the bank managed to recover most of the money stolen from the 72-year-old in what it described as "complex case of fraud", Dankse has made up the balance.

The money was taken from Mr McCartan's bank in several transactions after he was stung in the phishing scam around December 16 last year. Scammers used his bank details to buy concert and flight tickets and to move money within Western Union in the US.

Phishing is a growing online crime in Northern Ireland where the victim receives an email purportedly from a reputable company in order to get them to reveal confidential details, such as bank information or address online, which are then fraudulently used.

Mr McCartan mistakenly updated his bank account details to what he believed was a genuine request to update his Amazon account or it would be suspended.

"I'm delighted with the news," Mr McCartan, who cares for his bed-bound wife Eileen, told Radio Ulster's On Your Behalf.

"Danske hasn't really told me the full story but the manager asked me to come down and meet her and the branch manager.

"They went through the whole thing with me, that some of the money had been recovered, that they were working on transactions and were hopeful that these could be recovered but in the meantime that it was within the branch manager's remit to make up the shortfall and give me all the money back."

Danske Bank said: "We can confirm that Mr McCartan has had lost funds credited to his account. This was a complex case of fraud, and like all other such cases, it was reviewed on an individual basis by the bank."

Mr McCartan was initially told by Danske Bank that his money would not be refunded as he had failed to protect himself sufficiently from online fraudsters.

Last month a spokesman said: "Every case is looked at on its own merits. Unfortunately, under the terms and conditions of his account, this customer is not entitled to a refund from the bank because by giving away his card details he effectively authorised the transaction."

However, Mr McCartan had referred his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman as he claimed that Danske should have picked up on unusual purchases on his account.

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