Falklands war hero loses £20,000 in debit card scam - and Barclays won't cover the cost

Falklands war hero loses £20,000 in debit card scam - and Barclays won't cover the cost

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GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 25/03/2024

- 17:09

Former Royal Marine Henry Williams was forced to sell his medals

A Falklands war hero who was scammed while on holiday has been told he will only get half of his money back.

Former Royal Marine Henry Williams had £20,000 stolen while on holiday in Rio de Janeiro.

The 64-year-old was forced to sell his war medals after the amount was paid from his Barclays account in a series of 18 "nefarious" card transactions in March 2022.

Now a preliminary decision from the Financial Ombudsman has ruled that Barclays should refund 50 per cent for most of the disputed transactions, totalling just over £9,000 plus interest

\u200bBarclays/card machine

Barclays are only returning half of the money to WIlliams


It was when visiting a bar in 2022 with new friends he had met in Brazil that Williams saw Barclays phone notifications for transactions of around £3,000 and in the app he saw more pending payments totalling £17,000.

Williams said that Barclays refused to refund him and implicitly accused him of trying to defraud them, claiming that he must have entered his PIN each time as chip and pin security is impenetrable.

After Williams referred the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service, they sided with Barclays and denied him a refund. However, now after appealing the outcome, a provisional decision was made last week which awarded him around half of the stolen money, citing that he must take some liability for being 'tricked' into making the payments.

The war veteran said that he now feels "gaslit" by the bank and the ombudsman.


FOS sign

The 64-year-old accused ombudsman of "gaslighting" him


He told MailOnline: "I felt I was banging my head against a wall and going mad. You have a glaring mirror of foolishness held up to yourself which is quite dismaying, you wake up every morning thinking 'how can I be so stupid?'

"It overwhelmed me for months to write about things I had very little understanding of.

"It constantly left me with my heart racing and beating out of control for months and months. I felt I was going insane as nobody was helping me understand and they were telling me 'you're at fault'.

"Even the ombudsman's investigator said it was most likely that I was liable. The bank is denying something for their own agenda. I was found grossly negligent or complicit in my own fraud and then I felt very vulnerable."

A FOS spokesperson said: "Being the victim of a fraud or scam can be a terrible experience, which is why we thoroughly investigate every case that comes to us. In recent years, we have upheld thousands of consumers' complaints, returning more than £150million to those who have been victims of fraud and scams.

"Our investigators are always fair and impartial. When investigating a case, they not only review all the available evidence but, where necessary, consult the relevant research, industry codes and good practice.

"We're absolutely committed to providing a service which people can use with confidence, and which resolves their complaints efficiently and without bias."

Copacabana beach

Williams was on holiday Rio de Janeiro in 2022 when the incident happened (file pic)


A spokesperson added: "'Fraudsters' tactics and use of technology is constantly evolving, which is why we consider a range of potential scenarios when determining a case. We look at the evidence and arguments presented by both sides, consider the latest fraud and scam techniques where appropriate, and reach a fair conclusion based on all the available facts."

A Barclays spokesperson told MailOnline: "We work hard to protect our customers from fraud and scams, and invest in systems that help safeguard them from the latest emerging threats.

"This is a complex case that has been reviewed by the Financial Ombudsman Service. We are fully engaged with their investigation and are considering the Provisional Decision they have issued.

"As it is subject to review it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

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