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His Brazier Property Services in Essex does vital regular maintenance work for care and children’s homes and hospices, providing jobs for 11 staff and other contractors. With help from family and friends, Lyle is determined to keep his team, pay the bills and stay afloat. But the loss of £65,000 has been a devastating blow that many fellow hard-working traders will have sympathy with.
Lyle came to Crusader after being deeply disappointed with the service he has received from his bank Tide over the problem.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer and small firms champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]
“I still have no idea how this happened, how security was breached,” he claims.
“Fake payees were set up. But I have face recognition and passwords protecting my account and I don’t share my app details with anyone, not even my wife.
“I have given Tide every bit of information I have. If they had further queries they should have let me know, not leave me in the dark.
“But when I ask, the responses take days and then don’t explain. I’m just left and have no idea for how long. After giving the details I was told I would hear within 14 days, that passed and now it is a review in 35 days.
“So this could run on and on. We’re paying customers, it makes running a business so difficult, we deserve better.”
After years working for others, Lyle and Nichola, his wife, co-director and “rock”, became first time entrepreneurs 18 months ago specialising in the social healthcare sector, maintaining key needs for homes and refuges such as their central heating systems.
In the thick of family celebrations on Christmas Eve, he got a call out of the blue, claiming to be from Tide, warning him of suspicious payments on Brazier’s business account.
“They went through all the payees on my account, reeled off all the recent payments and clearly had all my details,” Lyle claims.
“They asked about a couple of payments I had not made and said they would freeze my card. When I checked on my app it had been done.
I confirmed I had not set up two new payees.
“When I logged back into my app there was a long list of payments waiting to be approved and I was told to decline the first. Suddenly I was logged out, there was a wait, and when I went back in £65,000 had gone.
“It was sickening and wrecked our Christmas. I immediately alerted Tide. It seemed I was only taken notice of after I got a crime reference number from Action Fraud.”
The phoney payees on his account are clearly bogus showing the usual red flag warnings with misspellings such as ‘maintenace’ and ‘maintence’ for maintenance in the payees’ fake names.
Some are also still showing a chilling “pending approval” on his app.
It’s Lyle’s understanding now that the money went first to a “beneficiary account” with Tide and then on to another beneficiary, now being investigated, meanwhile the scam calls continue.
A Tide spokesperson told Crusader: “Fraud prevention and security is something that we take very seriously. We provide comprehensive advice on our website about fraud prevention, which our members can readily access anytime.
“This is a complicated situation that we are investigating thoroughly to establish all the facts. As soon as the investigation is complete, we will contact Mr Brazier and provide a full update. We apologise to Mr Brazier for the time this is taking to resolve.”
If there is no satisfactory outcome Lyle could also try taking it to the Financial Ombudsman.
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