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Saturday, 19 November 2011

NatWest closed baby’s Bank Account because of “Fraud”

NatWest closed baby’s Bank Account because of “Fraud”

The society we have all now have become use to living “WHY” (It’s all about keeping us all under more and more control, But the control we all now becoming the accept isn’t about controlling criminals, it’s about keeping control of your everyday Mr, Ms and Mr and Mrs Jo-Blogs) as so called fraud alert close an bank account of six-month-old baby girl?

The bank account of a six-month-old girl has been closed following an error over a fraud alert by NatWest Bank.

James and Vanessa from Leicestershire just you average normal people set up a NatWest Young Savers Account for their six-month-old daughter Mariella at the beginning of November, as James told Radio 4's Money Box programme:

"We recently had her christened and from the christening received gifts from friends and family of cheques and cash."

They thought no more about it until a week later they received a letter signed NatWest Accounts Closure Team: "We have, with regret, reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide banking facilities for you. Your account will be closed in 14 days from the date of this letter.

"The bank is unwilling to enter into any further discussion with your regarding its decision. Recovery agents have been instructed to collect cards and books in your possession."

James and Vanessa were shocked and confused.

They could not understand why they were being forced to close a newly opened account for a six-month-old baby.

But James felt they had no choice other than to follow NatWest's demands: "It was just all very frightening and very threatening and we just didn't understand why."

Fraud report

When Money Box contacted NatWest to try and find out why the account had been closed, it came back with a one sentence explanation: "The customer lives at the same address with a person who committed an impersonation fraud."

James earlier this year had received letters from a phone company addressed to a man he did not know and who had never lived at his address.

He wondered if this man might have been the subject of the fraud alert.

Money Box contacted sources within the fraud prevention industry who confirmed that James and Vanessa had excellent credit records and the fraud flag was against a totally different name at that address.

It was clear that NatWest had made a serious error in forcing the closure of the account and giving James and Vanessa no opportunity at all to query it.

"We've been made to feel like criminals because somebody has tried to perform a fraud using our address," said James.

"There's got to be a mechanism in which somebody in my position can actually find out the reasons why, rather than it's just closed.”

NatWest eventually admitted to Money Box it had made serious errors: "Unfortunately a fraud alert was raised against their residential address unbeknown to them. The letter closing their daughter's bank account should have included details of how to appeal the decision.

"We are very sorry for what has happened for this young family, and a staff member will ring them to apologise next week."

The bank also told Money Box that as a result of James and Vanessa's experience, all closure letters will now include steps customers can take to appeal against a decision. It said that it would also offer them £200.

This case also raises worrying questions about the rules around the use of fraud alert data. The firms that provide it to the banks say they must investigate further before using it as the sole grounds for closing an account.

Richard Hurley from the fraud prevention network CIFAS said NatWest did not appear to have followed accepted rules: "A person's address will form one part of any checking and verification procedure associated with an application or claim for a product or service.

"However, an address being matched to one associated with a previous fraud should never be the sole basis behind a decision to decline an application. In any case, where an application has been declined solely because of an address match, the organisation in question must address their processes and policies." (Also people are now being credit check at all times, which in itself actually gives them a bad rating every time they are checked on the credit registers for whatever reasons, other factors, are if your on low incomes you won’t score points and even if you live in some post code areas that have a high crime rates you won’t score point and the computers will say NO? and now your everyday honest hard working Jo-Blogs are Discriminated against and Criminals still manage to carry on the trades, because your no longer people you’re a number on a credit score )

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