A man from County Down, Northern Ireland was scammed out of his entire pension pot and life savings. However, with the help of Trading Standards, he was able to recover almost all of his money. This was one of the biggest cases ever awarded by the Financial Ombudsman.
The victim, referred to as Mark by the BBC, wishes to remain anonymous. He had invested a six-figure sum in a fraudulent company that seemed to be doing well. Eventually, the fake company advised him to invest his pension pot and it was then that he realized it was a scam and he had lost everything.
When Mark realized what had happened, he begged the scammers to give him some of his money back. He explained, “I told them there wasn’t enough money left to bury me. I had failed in my duty to take care of my loved ones – my two daughters and my wife. If anything happened to me, there would be nothing left to support or help them.”
Mark fought for almost two years to get his money back. Despite being turned down multiple times, he persisted with the help of Trading Standards. He kept all documentation and detailed notes of every conversation, and even tracked down the company to an address in Scotland, which turned out to be fake.
The support and guidance provided by Trading Standards were invaluable to Mark. He encourages anyone in a similar situation to seek their help. He said, “I would say to anyone in a similar scenario, regardless of the amount of money involved, go to Trading Standards.”
Damien Doherty, chief inspector of Trading Standards in Northern Ireland, expressed his delight with the outcome. He explained that Mark’s bank had a duty of care to its customers and a code of practice to protect them from fraud and scams.
When Mark received the news that he was getting most of his money back, he couldn’t bring himself to read the email for two days. He described the moment when he finally read it as a huge relief. However, he also wishes for the scammers to be caught and pay back the money from their own pockets. He believes they continue to scam people because they know they will never be caught.