Man survives on food parcels after NatWest ‘refused’ to refund missing £250

A man claims he was forced to live off food parcels after NatWest refused to refund £250 which had allegedly been stolen from his bank account.

Simon Williams, from Swansea, claimed his Employment and Support Allowance benefit went into his bank account at 2am before a mystery withdrawal was made six minutes later.

When Simon went to the supermarket the next, he realised he had just £10 left in his account.

In total, the 37-year-old was left with £13 for his food shop, bills and travel -leaving him relying on charity food parcels after claiming he was refused a refund by the bank, reports Wales Online .

He said: "I realised when I got up and went to go shopping, I noticed I was able to withdraw just £10.

"I thought it was a mistake so checked my phone app. Once I saw the £250 withdrawal I knew immediately I was the victim of fraud as everything came together.

"I was using my phone to take money out as I couldn’t find my card, I had only used it the day before and wasn’t aware it was missing. Obviously I knew then it had been stolen. As I had never divulged my PIN I was at a loss as to how they had accessed my account.

"At first, I wasn’t too worried as I phoned my mother to tell her, and she assured me this had happened to her, and all I had to do was report the fraud to the police, then give the crime reference number to the bank and they would refund my money and claim it back from the thief themselves."

Mr Williams followed the process, expecting things would be fine, but they weren’t.

"They took details of my complaint and immediately I started to feel there was a big problem," he said.

"They really didn’t seem interested. After I provided them with all I knew they said I would have a decision within three days.

"I contacted them after the three days, they then told me: ‘We will not be taking up the case, as you cannot tell us how your PIN was compromised.’

"I tried explaining that if I knew that, I would most likely either be able to tell them who, or at least how it happened. But they were adamant they weren’t taking up the case. They explained this wasn’t just ‘no refund’, but that they would not expend any resources on tracking the thief."

Mr Williams requested a copy of a CCTV photo from the cashpoint so he could find the person responsible and take them to a small claims court, but he said the bank refused.

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"I was devastated," the 37-year-old said.

"I could not feed myself and needed to rely on food parcels.

"I also had to borrow money from someone ‘unofficial’ as the bank refused to help due to my poor credit, even given the situation, and due to my poor credit I couldn’t find anyone else. Now my debt is £847.21 and the interest to prevent it increasing further is crippling me. Where am I supposed to find that cash from?

"I went to the bank to try and explain my situation, I was appalled at the attitude. I tried to explain I was still falling further into debt over this and didn’t have time to wait for the police. They simply reminded me that police action is not guaranteed to have them investigate."

NatWest, responding to Mr Williams’s complaint, has now offered him a goodwill gesture.

A NatWest spokesman said: “We take all instances of fraud very seriously and undertake a thorough assessment of all fraud reported to us. In this case, we have investigated the matter fully and have offered a goodwill gesture of £250 to the customer which has been accepted in resolution of his complaint.”

The spokesman added that the bank reminded customers to take all reasonable steps to keep their security details safe, including their PINs, passwords, log-in details, activation and card reader codes, as outlined in the bank’s terms and conditions.

Further information on how customers can keep themselves safe and secure can be found at the NatWest website.

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