AFEP members are advised to be aware of a fraud targeting an elderly customer
In December an AFEP member firm received contact from corporate company in the name of Revolt Sales Limited trading as The Music Bird, advertising they sell musical equipment.
The AFEP member firm received the sum of £85,000 from a HSBC bank account from an under lying customer with an postcode in SO45 and Revolt Sales Ltd explained this money was as a result of the sale of a piano.
Through conducting basic web searches the firm was able to identify the underlying customer (based in Southampton) had a the year of birth of 1939 and the piano value in comparison to the value of the property was alarmingly high. Therefore the firm contacted Revolt Sales Limited to request contact information for the other client, and was given a phone number and told to ring on a particular time and date.
On calling at that time there was no answer but they received a return call from an anonymous number claiming to be the underlying client born in 1939. On the phone call, funds that had been received were discussed in detail as to the purpose, origination and final destination. From the outset of the phone call it was apparent the individual was not 82 years old. The firm asked for proof of payment and with this information the firm ran an electronic verification check, which made it clear that the facts did not support the transaction. There was no 82 year old resident of the Southampton property and the individual they spoke to claimed the funds came from Santander, not HSBC as was actually the case.
Upon speaking to the (non 82 year old) 'client', the firm were unable to get further documentation to prove identity. Two days later the (non 82 year old) 'client' said she no longer wanted to make the purchase and wanted the funds returning.
The firm have raised a SAR and are in the process of working out the best way to return the funds ,through a consent from the NCA, to the actual 82 year old individual.
Member firms are advised to be aware of any similar cases, and in particular where the firm is contacted by a company wanting to do a transfer, where the facts don't support the case.