Anyone help with a serious bank problem?

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  • Anyone help with a serious bank problem?
  • peterfile
    Member

    Just got back from Vietnam. One of my friends left the day before me and spent the day milling around HCMC before his flight.

    He ended up in a card game with some friendly locals. Long story short (full details of the scam can be found here), he was scammed and ended up being coerced into spending $12k across a number of his cards in a shop. He was lured into the small stakes game, but ended up feeling in danger quite early on and unable to leave as things progressed.

    He’s tried speaking to the police, insurance company and card issuers but with no luck. Their basic stance is that he entered what was effectively an illegal card game willingly.

    What I don’t understand is, how can VISA not be on the hook to some extent for allowing $12k of transactions to one little gold shop in HCMC within a matter of minutes? Surely this would trigger every security wall they have in place?

    Anyone working in banking/finance got any insight as to how he could go about getting this sorted?

    johndoh
    Member

    So he wants to be bailed by the card company despite him actually authorising the transactions?

    Good luck on that one.

    Pigface
    Member

    Why did he get involved in a card game? The only grief I got there was from a Taxi driver who tried to charge me 5 times what it said on the meter, we had a frank exchange of views in our own languages, he threw my bag across the road I threw his money on the floor.

    I did say Saigon was naughty.

    peterfile
    Member

    So he wants to be bailed by the card company despite him actually authorising the transactions?

    he was being held against his will at that point and being forced to make the transactions. His issue with VISA is that they didn’t ask for any form of secondary confirmation, despite making such large and irregular payments in an unusual pattern. My cards get blocked all the time when travelling, for much smaller and more normal amounts.

    Why did he get involved in a card game?

    No idea to be honest. Presumably he was just bored and chilling out in a cafe. The locals are quite endearing and persuasive when they want to be. I thought he was foolish, but I know him well and it’s out of character so presumably they knew what they were doing.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If he was genuinely coerced then why is it not treated as theft by Police and Insurance?

    johndoh
    Member

    Point taken, but you can’t rely on the card company flagging it up when you want it to.

    And to be fair, he could have ended up in a whole lot worse situation if they couldn’t get the money they wanted…

    And as the police said – he went into an illegal card game willingly.

    peterfile
    Member

    If he was genuinely coerced then why is it not treated as theft by Police and Insurance?

    I’ve not got the full details of his conversations with the police/insurers, but it seems to hinge on the fact that he entered an “illegal” card game (i.e. not in a licensed casino etc) and therefore his loss was as a result of that.

    I should add, I’m not saying that the banks are in the wrong here, just really want to be able to help my mate recover some of what he lost if possible.

    johndoh
    Member

    If he was genuinely coerced then why is it not treated as theft by Police and Insurance?

    If he had not told the truth, I guess he could have said he’d been forced from the beginning, but as they seem to know he did it willingly, I guess they see it differently.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Just read the scam from that link. Fascinating story. Sounds like a fun way to spend a holiday 😆

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    I’ve not got the full details of his conversations with the police/insurers, but it seems to hinge on the fact that he entered an “illegal” card game (i.e. not in a licensed casino etc) and therefore his loss was as a result of that.

    I’d challenge on the basis of knowing it was an illegal game (unless he did know). That may be an angle to try to defeat their argument.

    And then I;d be all over the card conditions to see if they can legitimately rely on their exclusions (knowing that they have to be reasonable under UCTA – same with travel insurance).

    Also, his being forced to make the card transactions is the issue here. If he’d entered a game knowing the risks (ie losing £12k), it doesn’t flow automatically that the only way to settle the debt is by card payments. He could pay in cash or in kind.

    So, I’d seek to knock down their knowingly illegal line, and then get them to follow through on the coercion logic.

    Good luck to you your friend.

    Ooooh bad luck thats one expensive night out! But thanks for the heads up, going to Vietnam next spring ill keep this story in mind

    peterfile
    Member

    OMITN, how why would there be any requirement to know it was an illegal game in order for it to trigger an exclusion? It’s either illegal or it isn’t. I’m going to have a look through his t&cs, but suspect it won’t be subject to him being aware that it was illegal.

    If they’d forced him to sit down at an illegal game then it would be different, however he’s been completely honest about the whole thing.

    They seem to be adopting a fairly robust stance of “your loss arose from your participation in an illegal card game”, so no protection.

    My thinking is that the loss he sustained is fairly remote from his original actions which they claim resulted in the loss. Going from playing 21 for $5 to being held in a shop against his will to spend $12k is a pretty long line of causation to follow.

    Good luck to you your friend.

    I don’t have $12k to lose at the moment! 🙂

    Most of his money was savings for a deposit for a house, so it’s killing him that he had all his bank cards on him and not just one account card with holiday cash in it.

    warton
    Member

    that scam is mental. I expect they’re expecting the $200 more than the $0000’s most times….

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    They seem to be adopting a fairly robust stance of “your loss arose from your participation in an illegal card game”, so no protection.

    For me, I separate the “illegal” from the game itself and I separate the means of payment as separate from the game (illegal or not).

    I think their focus on the illegal bit is a distraction. Because he might as well have ended up being scammed in another way.

    My thinking is that the loss he sustained is fairly remote from his original actions which they claim resulted in the loss. Going from playing 21 for $5 to being held in a shop against his will to spend $12k is a pretty long line of causation to follow.

    I’d agree.

    He only handed over any money through coercion. How that coercion came about isn’t connected – the fact is that he got forced to make transactions against his will because a friendly game for $5 dollars turned into a scenario where he feared for his safety). Even if he knew it to be illegal at $5, surely it can’t automatically follow that, at that point, he also knew he’d find himself in for $12k.

    The card co/insurance company are trying to lump the outcome in with his intent when sitting down at the table. He was passing time, and only after things changed during the course of the game he realised he was the fall guy. He feared for his safety and did what he thought best in the circumstances.

    peterfile
    Member

    Just sent an email to a couple of ex lit colleagues, will see if anyone fancies looking at it. Don’t think i’m owed any favours though so will just have to hope someone isn’t too busy and is feeling generous. Their argument doesn’t feel right (or particularly robust).

    I’m not massively hopeful he’s going to see a good result here, but given the sums involved it’s definitely worth a bit of effort to try.

    Just read his insurance t&cs and they look like they were drafted by someone who was told “just leave it as vague as possible, we can have the interpretation issue at the time”

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    My first post got lost but in my view on what you’ve presented he has no chance of getting the money back. It’s not the bank/visa’s issue as to whether the game was illegal or not. Your friend made the payments, he authorised them. Basically that’s the start and end of it. Don’t be surprised if the police take the view that it’s your friends own fault. I don’t think uk police would act any differently.

    If he wants his money back he will have to pursue this through the Vitnamese justice system. This is absolutely not a bank problem.

    EDIT: I just read the link, I think your friend should keep quiet about the fact HE was trying to cheat at cards but it backfired on him. Really this is like saying you fell for a Nigerian email scam and you want VISA to pay.

    At least he wasn’t coerced into a game I saw on that movie…what’s it called now?… based in Vietnam war with Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken… The Hunter or something…

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    He would have been better off saying from the off he had been marched to the ATM at knifepoint and ordered to empty his account. Effectively and morally (EDIT – well, perhaps not, if he was going down the cheating line, rather than just playing the game) this is what happened, even if the prelude was getting suckered into a ‘friendly’ game of cards. The true circumstances just gives insurers and banks an opportunity to wriggle out of it.

    Murray
    Member

    @martinhutch – he would be better off not committing a fraud.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Not at this point, certainly. Most people would agree that he has been the victim of one himself though, although the cheating aspect muddies the waters slightly.

    good luck getting the bank to give him back $12000…

    I wonder if I can get back my £30 from a tea scam I had done on me in China…you know the one let me show you round the area and then oh let me show you this great tea house…oh but you have to buy the tea and its special…oh but how me and my mate had the last laugh cos the scammer was indeed a very attractive lady…but that £30 got us 2hrs with her…she knew we didn’t care about the £30 !

    …just phoned my bank and told them about the great tea scam and could I get my money back… er no bugger off !

    $12000 that’s funny in a non funny way !

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Your friend made the payments, he authorised them. Basically that’s the start and end of it.

    So if I threaten you with violence and you hand over your car keys, I can keep your car? Cool.

    If he wants his money back he will have to pursue this through the Vitnamese justice system. This is absolutely not a bank problem.

    Am assuming the card and insurance terms are all governed by English law, so it hasn’t yet got anything to do with the Vietnamese justice system (although that may be another angle worth pursuing in due course).

    He would have been better off saying

    It seems he didn’t, so not sure of the relevance to problem solving!

    Just sent an email to a couple of ex lit colleagues, will see if anyone fancies looking at it. Don’t think I’m owed any favours though so will just have to hope someone isn’t too busy and is feeling generous. Their argument doesn’t feel right (or particularly robust).

    Good call. Litigators are great at finding all sorts of holes in all sorts of things. Better still, consumer credit lawyers might be just the trick here.

    peterfile
    Member

    Re the committing fraud point, from his account, it seemed to be more that he was dragged/tricked into betting larger and larger amounts (and winning).

    Apologies, I just googled Saigon card scam and picked the one at the top. After another google, it seems there’s quite a few, all with different approaches but a similar ending – being forced to hand over cash/valuables to cover your “debt”

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Not at this point, certainly. Most people would agree that he has been the victim of one himself though, although the cheating aspect muddies the waters slightly.

    Yes. Good point. I was too busy trying to find angles but if – and I don;t think we know this as a fact – the scam went the same way and our man knew he was attempting to cheat someone, then I reckon the chain of causation got a bit shorter! 😯

    EDIT: just seen peterfile’s post

    Premier Icon notmyrealname
    Subscriber

    from his account, it seemed to be more that he was dragged/tricked into betting larger and larger amounts (and winning)

    So basically he was greedy and ended up getting turned over, now he wants someone else to pay for his balls up?

    That’s the way it reads to me!

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    Doesn’t help here – but a good reason not to carry debit/credit cards with you: use a currency card instead. Gives you all the same functionality, but you can only lose what you’ve loaded on the card in first place.

    bikebouy
    Member

    From what I’ve read it has nothing to do with “his” Bank. Police yes, Bank nope.
    😐

    globalti
    Member

    If the bank “lets him off” this one, what precedent will it set for others who find themselves in the same position?

    My feeling is that they will refuse to underwrite his naivety and he’ll be on his own. I’ve said it many times before in the context of Nigerian advance fee fraud but there are others a lot more desperate and cunning than us, we live relatively safe, sheltered lives in little old Yoorup and the US of A.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    So your friend thought they were going to win big and got shafted – now its the bank’s fault (note VISA etc have nothing to do with the rules over transactions, they merely provide the network. Each bank does what it wants in this respect).

    Reading that blog there were plenty of opportunities to exit and instead they kept going to the value of £12k?!

    What size transactions were going through, why did they not type in the wrong pin and block the card – because they thought they were in for some dollar.

    Naive but not the bank’s issue IMHO.

    Harsh but put it down to experience.

    bland
    Member

    Surely the better option would have to say nothing then call when his statement come through and calling them to say an unauthorised transaction had gone through and please put a stop on it!

    Bit late now though

    trevron73
    Member

    This nearly happened to me in Thailand in 2001 in Koh Samui ,this chap said to me in the street “nice shirt”(i was on my own )”thanks”i replied , a bit wierded out that a man said nice shirt to another man,i got chatting about his sister who was starting work in London later that month ,would i like to meet her ect ,then he mentioned the hospital where she was going to work (i knew there was no hospital there and he was scamming ,when he invited me to play cards i left very quickly and basically managed to leg it qick and into a passing taxi. Spoke to a english lad later in the week who lost £2000. Police same as your mate as Ileagal gambling. I went back 2 years later and he was still there scamming on the same stretch of road ,he even tried the same lines on me a second time ??? Always be careful as there are very few “friendly locals” in large touristy areas.Think about it would you play cards with SOHO locals ???

    Reminds me of the Lloyds names who thought they were going to get rich and then a series of disasters cost them a lot of cash

    Next thing you know they are asking the government to bail them out

    First rule of gambling, don’t if you can’t afford to lose

    peterfile
    Member

    christ there’s some immeasurably high horses in here.

    he fell for a scam. he’s $12k out of pocket after an initial bit of bad judgment.

    if they’d cut out the initial $5 card game, he’d effectively just have been robbed and either insurance would have paid out or the bank would have reversed the payments made to the shop. Instead, as a result of a few hands of $5 cards and then being coerced/scammed, not only do most feel he is entitled to nothing, but being forced to pay people $12k was somehow his own fault?

    Luckily, he doesn’t have you as mates and I’ll do my best with the resources I have to help him.

    dooosuk
    Member

    How was he forced? Was there actually any threats or did he just not dare say ‘no’?

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    My horse is low. I know I cave in very easily to this sort of crap, either because I’m excessively worried about offending people or slightly intimidated. So far it’s only cost me a shitty visit to some pathetic tannery in Marrakesh and buying a few beads I didn’t want, but I’m a pretty easy mark. I sympathise, but suspect he won’t get his money back. 😐

    johndoh
    Member

    Luckily, he doesn’t have you as mates and I’ll do my best with the resources I have to help him.

    Would you look at the situation as favourably if it was someone else posting about their friend? And good on you helping him but I don’t think I would if a mate of mine did it – I’d be more likely to laugh at his stupidity (unless of course it left him in real financial hardship and was unable to buy food/heat his house).

    peterfile
    Member

    Would you look at the situation as favourably if it was someone else posting about their friend? And good on you helping him but I don’t think I would if a mate of mine did it – I’d be more likely to laugh at his stupidity (unless of course it left him in real financial hardship and was unable to buy food/heat his house).

    john, he was playing some low stake cards in a very foreign country and fell for a successful scam and lost all his savings. I’m not sure what’s funny about that. You wouldn’t help your friend? Do you actually have any with an attitude like that?

    How was he forced? Was there actually any threats or did he just not dare say ‘no’?

    To be honest, I’m not quite sure. But he’s a pretty tough lad from belfast who doesn’t tend to scare easily. If he said he didn’t have a choice then I’m not going to argue.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I’m surprised the card company didn’t stop it to be honest. I’ve been abroad spending considerably smaller amounts than this and the card company have queried them. I’ve even had the card company querying purchases of a few quid in the local shops. Who know what algorithms they use to raise a query, but if your mate can’t resolve this I’d advise he gets a different card provider.

    I’m very sympathetic, but the title of this thread does point the finger firmly at the bank. I suspect those on their high horses are responding to that.

    “My mate was seriously scammed. Help please” might have been better 🙂

    Good luck with it

    johndoh
    Member

    You wouldn’t help your friend? Do you actually have any with an attitude like that?

    He was scammed, he wasn’t robbed at knife point.

    My mate lost lots to a female in South Korea when he was working out there long term – she scammed him to the extent of moving in with him so she could spend more of his money and when he came back to the UK she had him bring her over – eventually he twigged she was just wanting a passport.

    We wind him up about it mercilessly. Still, he was in a fortunate position that it didn’t financially cripple him.

    And back on the subject – to fall for a scam like that is pretty dim really – perhaps it is my inherent suspicious nature, but I don’t trust someone in a shop to sell me what I want rather than the thing they want to sell, never mind be taken into a card game by a stranger in a foreign country.

    hilldodger
    Member

    …waits for OP to suggest we all send him £1 to help his friend 😈

    globalti
    Member

    I nearly got “scammed” by a very nice girl I met in a club in Bandung, Indonesia. She seemed curiously upset that I produced and used a condom, almost as if she wanted to get pregnant…. then I discovered she had false teeth! 😯

    ell_tell
    Member

    Just for clarity OP, your friend is not the same person in the link you posted is it – that was just used as an example of the type of scam he fell for?

    Premier Icon bearnecessities
    Subscriber

    upset that I produced and used a condom,

    I misread that as “I produced a used condom”!

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Whilst I still think there is far more to this story than your mate or perhaps you are saying ($5 stakes and running up $12k, several trips and small transactions a time, plenty of time to get out of the game – even that blog makes it clear they knew it was a scam very early on, they thought they were going to make money etc) if your friend thinks the bank (and it is the bank not Visa etc) has acted unreasonably he needs to follow the formal complaints process.

    If the bank still reject his complaint he will need to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service and get them to adjudicate. Basically he would have to explain that whilst he authorised the transactions he felt coerced in to it and that the bank had a duty of care to prevent such a large sum going out in a large number of small transactions over a relatively short period of time.

    Its a long shot but his best hope.

    Fueled
    Member

    Surely this is one for travel insurance rather than the bank?

    He did (technically) authorise the transactions, so the bank is not at fault. If someone held a knife to my neck by a cash machine in the UK and made me withdraw £100 for him, I would not expect my bank to pay that cash back to me. If I somehow had insurance that covered losses arising from being mugged then I would be expecting a payout from them.

    Instead, as a result of a few hands of $5 cards and then being coerced/scammed, not only do most feel he is entitled to nothing…

    Why would he be entitled to anything? Your friend is (at best) a victim of crime. Since when have victims of crime been entitled to having their losses reimbursed by anyone other than the criminal?

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