Cyber Fraud and Identity theft

Hi Monzo

This is an ongoing investigation and I am hopeful that it gets resolved and becomes a poisitve outcome however I have had probably the worst 3/4 days I have ever had dealing with a bank.

Last week I had £783 disappear from my account over seven payments taking place over night leaving my safe pot to my current account and then off to a paypal account via transfer. On the same night there was a paypal account set up using my details but a different email address, I found out that the money was transferred to this account and then onto somewhere else from Paypal themselves.

Now Paypal have informed me that this account has been closed down which is somewhat of a relief however Monzo have refused to reimburse any money taken as based on the information available to them it appears that these transactions took place using my handset.

Now I really dont know the ins and outs of how cyber attacks happen but I can say and your records will show that I recently changed handsets to one from a friend, as my previous phone had a crack on the screen. Following these events I have run a scan on this device as I know I am not responsible for any of the transactions that took place that evening. The results of that scan were that there are risks on the phone including a setting being left open to allow downloads from unknown sources. Now this isn;t a setting I have made, it came on the phone when I started using it, but what it may answer is the question around whether someone could have accessed my phone without my knowledge or that there could be software on that phone that I was unaware of and could give an outside third party access to it?.

Now I am still standing my ground on the fact that these payments were not authorised by me and I had no knowledge of them taking place until the following morning when I logged it with Monzo.

Given the fact that your disputes team have already made a decision to not reimburse me and have served notice to close my account, is there anyway that they would consider reviewing this again based on the knowledge that my handset wasn’t safe at the time i used it? From my point of view I thought I was doing everything I could to keep it safe ie passcodes etc, but the fact is that the phone wasnt new when it came into my possession and I dont know enough about how these things should be set up to fully protect myself against things like this happening.

This entire situation has left me in a really horrible place both financially and mentally and I really just want to see the end of it but at the same time I cannot afford to just give up, walk away and lose that amount of money.

As I said at the start I am still awaiting a response from the Customer Advocacy team but I am unsure as to what they can do to turn a decision of the disputes team?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks

You will need to wait until Monzo give their final response. If you aren’t happy with that, you can escalate it to the ombudsman.

There is nothing else you can do.

The person who gave or sold you the phone isn’t a friend, but I hope you get it sorted.

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Monzo don’t close down accounts because you’ve been a victim of fraud.

That being said there’s nothing anybody on here can say to help you or provide you with any advice.

You need to follow the process and see where it takes you

my friend gave me their old phone. I dont think its them that is to blame however I dont know if they had downloaded anything on the phone during their use of it that may have still been on there?
Like I say Ii really dont know much about technology but Im trying to figure out what has happened with my account as I dont seem to getting much support from Monzo on this.
There was a paypal account set up usin my details that same night and the passwords to my email accounts had changed.
There were texts on my phone that had been read and all sorts of wierd stuff.
Ultimately I know that Im not to blame for this, Im just frustrated beyond belief that its my job to fight my case with Monzo. I feel like they havent supported me at all and dont really seem bothered about the position this has left me in.
Dont get me wrong I know there are dodgy people out there and I am sure they have great processes in place to detect fraudsters and protect the wider community but in this case they have really let down a genuine customer who has suffered due to know fault of my own.
Just really frustrating dealing with all this.

That’s my frustration, they are basically saying that I have made these transfers myself which simply isn’t the case.
I just hope that this customer advocacy team can actually help reassess this situation.

The fraud team have to take a dispassionate view of the sequence of events as you’ve described them, the details that they have access to from the app access, and any third party detail provided by Paypal and beyond, and then determine the likelihood that you were involved or not.

That is all they can do with this situation. It’s not Monzo who are responsible for your money disappearing (or shouldn’t be). It’s either you, or someone else. Sorry.

You have been loaned/given a phone to use by your friend, didn’t reset it before use, and “somehow” that has been hacked? Frankly from what you’ve said, perhaps the phone had some kind of key logging software installed prior to you getting it and that has meant you have had the relevant data scooped up. Genuine remote hacking of a phone in your possession is not as easy as the films portray. If that’s the case, I’d have a number of thoughts about your friend and where this phone came from.

Anyway, that’s my late night ramble in response. As people have said, as long as you’ve given Monzo all the details then they can try and unscramble this, and your only option is to wait.

I mean this in the nicest possible way but I’m not surprised Monzo doesn’t believe you because none of what you said makes sense or is logical.

Someone got access to your phone, got into Monzo, emptied your pot and then made 7 payments to PayPal that required your pin?

It’s your responsibility to secure your phone.

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Please be aware that you’re not talking to Monzo - this is a customer forum set up by Monzo.

If you didn’t realise that, and aren’t happy with your message being publicly displayed, let me know and I’ll remove it for you.

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Your phone was compromised and the attacker managed to do all his malicious actions from your device using your legitimate credentials and IP address. As far as Monzo (and PayPal) are concerned, it came from your device. It’s like giving away your house keys to a burglar and then trying to claim insurance for being robbed.

Now regardless of what happens to that money you need to mitigate any future risk. You need to reinstall every device you have and from a clean machine change all your passwords to unique ones (starting with your email, otherwise the bad guys can reset passwords right after you change them) and inspect for further signs of compromise (they might be playing the long game and there might be stuff you haven’t noticed yet).

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Agreed securing my phone is my responsibility and Im pretty sure there arent many people out there who do more than put a passcode on their phone to protect it (As I do). Sadly though in situations like mine that password does very little to stop people accessing your phone via certain types of hacking.
Fortunately though, Ive now been able to record video evidence of my phone as its being hacked and from what ive learned this way hackers can literally watch you using your phone, watch you type every password and make every payment. Nothing on the Monzo app is in place to stop anything like this and I appreciate that Monzo arent the ones who stole the money.
I am however of the opinion that they should be able to detect/flag up suspicious account activity and a new paypal account being linked to my account and seven transactions taking place of large amounts of money to that paypal account would be suspicious activity.
As furious as I am that my phone was able to be hacked in this way and as violated as I feel, I am relieved that I have been able to prove to Monzo that this wasnt me and demonstrate that despite their intial opinions that they were wrong to think this wasnt possible.

Well guys, after many painful hours of waiting for responses and for investigations to take place. Monzo have finally refunded the money into my account.
I do have to say their Customer Advocacy Team really did get everything pushed along at a much quicker pace and actually having one point of contact who listened, understood and had real empathy for the situation really did help. Its a shame they don’t allocate those guys at the very start of any serious case as it was handled far more efficiently once they did.

Oddly though they are still planning to close my account in 2 months time. They haven’t given me a reason for this but ultimately there are plenty more fish in the sea.

Just a few words of advice to anyone dealing with Monzo when you have no access to money and you are beholden to them and their waiting times.

  • Keep pushing (Although most of their team cant give you answers, it really helps your case when someone in their customer advocacy team can see just how this has been affecting you)
  • Be willing to help them with their investigation (Really think about what it is they are looking for, they aren’t going to tell you so just give some thought to what you believe will help your case.)
  • Provide any relevant evidence voluntarily (This shows you are doing everything you can to help them and to help the situation)
  • Speak to third parties (Action Fraud, Victim Support) or like in my case Paypal which is where the money was transferred to and raise a dispute with them too, share the case number with Monzo to show them you are taking this seriously and again doing everything you can to find a resolution.
  • Open another bank account and be ready to get your money out of there the second they give it back to you.
  • Don’t get negged out with peoples comments on your story, if you know you are in the right then just keep that in mind. However crazy the scenario may sound to other people, if you know it to be true then don’t feel you need to allow other peoples opinions affect your drive to get the result you want.
  • Take responsibility (In my case I had to acknowledge the fact that the route cause of my money being stolen was my phone being hacked. This isn’t Monzos fault but at the same time explain what you think Monzo could have done to better protect you and in dealing with the situation and ask them in their opinion what you could have done differently to prevent it happening in the first place)
  • Prepare for the worst (Ultimately despite all your efforts and patience, you have to face the reality that Monzo may stick to their guns and not help you. Don’t bank on them, cover your own back if you can and seek help from those around you friends, family, work etc)
  • Communicate with them by any means necessary (Monzo are not the easiest people to communicate with, the in app chat in my opinion is totally unfit for purpose when dealing with serious incidents. I think this design works well for smaller cases ie replacement card ordering or requesting a limit increase etc. So reach out to them on facebook, twitter, phone, email and keep doing it, even if it doesn’t achieve much you know you are doing everything you can.
  • Try your best to keep your mental health in check (I’m not gonna lie, although its only been a week I have really struggled with everything that’s happened, I suffer with mild depression anyway and this very nearly tipped me over the edge. Just make sure you don’t go into yourself, eat properly, don’t turn to alcohol and make sure you talk to people around you, they might not have an answer for you but they do care)
  • And finally, learn from this, don’t ever rely on one bank for all of your money, ensure that moving forward you spread your risk, whether that’s in other banks or even keeping a safety net at home. I never expected anything like this to happen to me and I will make damn sure if it happens again that I’m not left completely helpless.

Sorry for the long message but this has been a hell of an experience and reading some of the other cases on here its certainly not taken the longest to resolve but honestly keep your chin up, don’t give up and try not to let this situation spread and impact everything else in your life, its really not worth it in the long run.

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I hope you’ve taken the appropriate steps to make sure this won’t happen again (see my advice above). Personally I’d be much more worried about someone having persistent access to my phone rather than some money. Lost money is a one time event, while a malicious person having access has the potential to do further damage over time.

I couldnt agree more.
Well we’ve changed our Internet service provider now, Ive changed my mobile and ensured that all the other devices in the house have been wiped clean back to factory reset and we have also invested in some anti virus software.
I appreciate money isn’t the most important thing in the world and if there’s any take away from this its that just sticking with basic protection on things like my mobile really isn’t enough. I appreciate your comments though buddy and appreciate your understanding of the situation, not everyone believed this sort of stuff can happen.

So basically the phone you were loaned WAS infected?

Yes it would appear that way.

Sounds like someone has used your account to launder money