€1,700 taken from pensioners’ bank account in online scam

A pensioner in County Roscommon has claimed his bank could have done more to help after over €1,700 was debited from his and his wife’s joint bank account following an phishing scam.

Jimmy Darcy, who lives in Lecarrow, said a total of €1,751 was debited from the couple’s joint account through 18 different transactions in just over an hour and a half earlier this year.

He says the transactions were all made through a restaurant in Italy via an Apple Pay account. Mr Darcy says that neither he nor his wife own an iPhone nor an Apple Pay account and have never visited the restaurant in question.

When he raised the apparent fraud with his bank he was told that a message had been sent to his wife’s phone at the end of January confirming a passcode for Apple Pay. Mr Darcy and his wife say they never received such a message.

“We don’t have an iPhone or an Apple Pay account. Our daughter confirmed with Three that an iPhone is needed to access an Apple Pay account, and that it cannot be used on Android,” Mr Darcy said.

“We only discovered the Apple Pay transactions when the bank sent us our statement four weeks after the charges were made. There are 18 of them, ranging from €95 to €99, and all at a restaurant somewhere in Italy and all within an hour and a half of each other. We checked for the bank’s message about the Apple Pay code at that time but couldn’t find it”.

The bank in question has told Mr Darcy that nothing can be done despite him completing a Phishing Report and reporting the incident to the Gardaí. He was told his next option would be to report the matter to the Ombudsman.

“That could take months and in the meantime we are still down €1,700, that’s money we just don’t have,” Mr Darcy said.

“This has caused us both a lot of stress and it’s something we believe could have been avoided with a phone call as soon as the bank became aware of these unusual transactions”.