November 2022
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Does nobody take responsibility for anything anymore?

Monday/Tuesday blog

As the useless Tory Party tears itself apart over its cretinous decisions to scrap the 45% tax rate and the cap on bankers’ bonuses while many families worry about keeping the heating and lights on, here’s a less serious story.

A Telegraph reader’s letter

At the weekend I came across this letter from a Telegraph reader to the Telegraph’s supposed ‘financial expert’ which made me choke over my Earl Grey tea. The writer describes how she lost £53,000 to a scammer and therefore expected her bank (the Nationwide Building Society) to repay the money she had lost

I have put the letter in blue and my comments in red:

Dear Katie,

I am a 50-year-old widowed single mother with a teenage daughter. I lost my brother to brain cancer in 2019 and then my dear husband to the same cruel disease in the spring of 2020.

I fail to see what her brother’s death (sad as it was for her) has to do with her chucking away £53,000. But like everyone we see or hear about nowadays, she starts with a ‘sob story’ about how life has treated her unfairly.

It was right at the start of the pandemic and I was denied the chance to be with family or friends for support. But I survived and I started to rebuild my life. In the autumn of last year I felt the time was right to find happiness again. I joined a dating site, where I struck up a connection with a man.

We can sympathise with her for the loss of her husband. But she seems to have moved on from her grief as she has joined a dating site. So I can’t see what her sob story has to do with the fact she wasted £53,000.

I had been warned by friends that people sometimes didn’t look like their profile photos, so naturally I was relieved when we video called and he looked just like his. He told me that he had developed feelings for me, as I had for him. He was very caring, checking in on me every day.

How on earth can someone you have never met “develop feelings for you”? Did it really not occur to her that the man might be a scammer?

Cryptocurrency investments? Red flag!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Warning lights flashing!!!!!!

On December 9 he first broached the topic of an investment. I was reluctant at first because I am very cautious financially. I told him I would need some time to think about it. He sent me the company’s website and I was sent emails from the company. I checked if it was legitimate, which it was. The emails were signed off by a director whom I found on LinkedIn.

By now this man had earned my trust completely. He knew he was the first man I had met since losing my husband and he promised he would never hurt me. I agreed to an initial £2,000 investment. Over the course of the following weeks I invested a further £51,000. I realised that something wasn’t right on January 30 this year.

As John McEnroe might say: “you can’t be serious!!!” You invested £53,000 over a period of just a few weeks in a product (cryptocurrencies) you probably didn’t understand encouraged by a man you had never met!!!! Lady, you have taken stupidity to a whole new level in my humble opinion.

He was meant to finally return to the UK but his flight was cancelled, he said. When he didn’t call me I became upset. He didn’t return my texts or calls and he took his picture off WhatsApp.

Some mornings I watch a BBC programme For Love or Money about internet romance scams. This story has all the depressingly predictable aspects of typical internet romance scams. While this lady may not have seen that particular programme, does she never watch TV nor ever read a newspaper?

I immediately called two close friends. When I filled them in about the “investments” they immediately realised I had been scammed.

Losing my husband to brain cancer was devastating, but the effect that this fraud is having on me has been so much harder to cope with. I’ve informed the police and my building society, Nationwide, about the scam, but neither has recouped any of my money.

How are the police meant to recoup her money? And why on earth should other Nationwide customers pay for this lady’s imbecility?

– Anon

The Telegraph financial expert’s answer

And here’s the reply from the Telegraph’s ‘financial expert’. I have put the reply in green and my comments in red:

Dear reader,

I was so very sorry to learn of the death of your husband and then of this wicked scam. Grieving, and still restricted from seeing friends and family because of continuing lockdowns, you were at the time of the fraud a highly vulnerable woman: perfect prey for this callous criminal who deliberately exploited your tragic circumstances.

Was she really “vulnerable”? She had started dating again.

I got in touch with Nationwide and asked what it had done to protect you. It had been notified of your husband’s death in 2020 and so should have been aware of your vulnerability, I felt.

Nationwide is a large company with 17,680 employees. Should every Nationwide employee be expected to know that this dating woman had lost her husband almost 2 years earlier and was therefore ‘vulnerable’? What total nonsense.

You say Nationwide made one phone call to check what one of the transfers was for, but it was not particularly probing, you said.

Good grief! The Nationwide tried to warn her that she was being scammed. But she claims the warning was not “particularly probing”. With someone like this, who blames everyone else for her self-inflicted problems, no doubt if Nationwide had been more “probing”, she would have complained about the Nationwide interfering with her money

You say you were asked to check with your “boyfriend”, who we now know was a fraudster, whether the investment was legitimate. Of course, he reassured you that it was. I also felt the scam was unusually sophisticated in that the fraudster made sure to impersonate a real employee of a legitimate investment company whom he actually looked like, which really had you fooled.

Sorry, but this scam was not sophisticated. Over £100m a year is scammed from people each year using almost exactly the same methods.

It is only now you know that all the emails, which had appeared genuine, were of course also fake. Nationwide said there was no evidence you had fallen for a scam because you had transferred money into a crypto­currency account held in your own name.

This ignored the fact that this was merely another part of the fraud, and a commonly used one at that. It also said it didn’t always follow that customers were vulnerable following a bereavement.

Around 700,000 people die in the UK each year. Other people manage to cope with these deaths without handing £53,000 to fraudsters. Moreover, these events occurred almost 2 years after this woman’s husband’s death.

It said you should have done more to stop the scam and, even after my involvement, refused to refund a single penny. I felt this was unfair, so I urged you to take your case to the Financial Ombudsman for a second opinion.

I’m pleased to say that, several months later, it found in your favour and asked Nationwide to pay you £53,500 plus 8pc interest.

This is utterly ludicrous. Why should other Nationwide customers pay for this nincompoop’s stupidity? Plus, why should she get 8% interest when the rest of us are lucky to get even 1%?

While there may be things you would do differently if you had your time again, ultimately Nationwide should have done more to protect you from this evil criminal. 

I disagree. I believe Nationwide did what it could to alert this clot to the fact she might be involved in a scam.

While you have, at long last, achieved this welcome result, the damage this episode has done to you personally has left you forever changed. Take all the time you need to recover from this trauma and, whatever you do, don’t lose faith that genuine and kind men do exist. You truly deserve to find one, and I hope that one day you will.

Nationwide said: “We intervened when the customer first started to make payments that were out of character and she was shown a tailored warning for this type of scam before each transaction. Based on our pre-­emptive actions we do not believe we should be held liable. However, the Financial Ombudsman has ruled in her favour and we accept this decision.”

We’re all victims now

This story seems to encapsulate a lot about people today:

  • everybody has a sad ‘sob story’ where life has been unfair to them
  • many people seem to have lost what we used to call common sense
  • nobody takes responsibility for their own decisions anymore
  • everyone sees themselves victims who should be compensated for their own stupidity
  • the media are so terrified of a twitterstorm from similarly stupid people, who also don’t take any responsibility for their actions, that the media doesn’t dare tell dopes like this woman to grow up

The only thing I find surprising about this story is that the stupid woman didn’t also claim she was suffering from ‘mental health problems’. After all, is there any celeb in the media nowadays who doesn’t claim they had ‘mental health problems’ and thought of committing suicide?

11 comments to Does nobody take responsibility for anything anymore?

  • Stillreading

    How right you are David! It’s high time for everyone to lose all tolerance for these stupid women who hand over tens of thousands to some bloke they’ve never physically met, who has declared undying love but just needs to “get out of Africa”, “start a new Company”, “get a relative out of prison” in some country no-one’s ever heard of. Do these women ever take a long hard look at themselves and ask themselves objectively just what ANY bloke, fictitious or otherwise, would find attractive about them? (Other of course than the fact that they are single, have a nice house and a good whack of dosh in the bank!) It’s sad that they should be so deluded, but given they have the savvy to get online to some “dating site” in the first place, it should be assumed that they have the savvy to avoid being scammed. Why should the rest of us bail them out? As a saver with Nationwide, currently receiving a miserly 1.75% on a limited access savings account, I strongly object to contributing to the reinstatement of this woman’s lost money. I wish I had £53K to lose! She had only herself to blame. But then, as you rightly state, no one these days seems to be prepared ever to take responsibility for their own actions. The decision by the Financial Ombudsman to hold Nationwide ultimately responsible and to instruct them to reimburse her seems to me both morally wrong and legally questionable.

  • Hardcastle

    We all make mistakes in life and we just had to ” grin and bear it” and learn from it.But not any more,as you so rightly point out David.This was part of growing up and being responsible for our own actions but now someone else is always responsible ” we are all guilty” as Peter Simple used to say.We have all practically and or financially subside everyone for their poor decision making. This is what is in fact happening on a national and international scale with regard to finance.Rising interest rates have already caused a cry from those who perhaps borrowed too much.No thought for those prudent,careful people who saved and got below inflation rates for their trouble.They have been subsidising the financially imprudent for some time and now the chickens are coming home to roost.This equally applies to individuals,organisations and nations.

  • Paul Chambers

    To be fair its the Financial Ombudsman at fault here. Sadly as a result we all have to suffer being treated like morons. Step towards programmable digital currency which would block this sort of non-state approved spending. Or face a cut in your bug allowance.

    Having watched the movie Rogue Agent recently its frightening how easily manipulated some are. The biggest abuser of all is the uk state with their terrifying nudge unit threatening to lock us up if we don’t pile over the cliff based on their corrupt globalist leanings. Bet no ombudsman or court will be brave enough to save us from that runaway train.

  • Stillreading

    No doubt, Paul, the worst is yet to come. The nudge unit is putting in a lot of overtime and it’s proving extremely successful. Condition all of us to be dependent on “technology” because “it’s so easy”. Just sit at home and do your banking, order up groceries, ready meals if you can’t be bothered to cook, have your clothes, books, household equipment and anything else you fancy delivered to your door, courtesy of Amazon and Ebay. You’re already hooked on digital stuff but now, when you do venture forth in your car, you can’t manage without a mobile phone since your vehicle breakdown cover comes in the form of an App “for your convenience” and all the red phone boxes have long been converted to book exchanges anyway. And it’s so EASY, isn’t it, when you do patronise an actual shop, not to have to carry cash, or even a bank card? Just wave your phone in the general direction of the till and Magic! You’ve paid. Marvellous! Now they’ve got you! Digital ID, digital currency! But then will come digital social credits (DO NOT dodge in front of that oncoming vehicle to cross the road even though it’s still half a mile away! You will be noted on that camera over there and digitally penalised. No swim or cinema for you this week! Go to a pedestrian crossing and wait, sheepie like, with everyone else, rain streaming down your back, for the lights to give permission to go!) And what about digital carbon credits? A weekly bit of steak, a drive to see those relatives at the other end of the country, or a summer flight to the Costas? Your choice! Welcome to digital Hell. And the youngsters just can’t see it coming. Or if they do, they don’t seem to care and think it’s OK. After all, they worship at the shrine of Greta. I wait with a certain amount of wry amusement for the moment when, thanks to net zero, the electricity supply fails, no one can charge their digital stuff, and the WIFI won’t work without power anyway! It is painfully obvious – literally, if one watches some of them – that many of today’s young can scarcely hold a pen or even know what a bit of plain paper is for! Brave New World indeed!

  • A Thorpe

    You say it is a less serious story but as the comments above show it is extremely important. Personal responsibility covers a wide range of issues of which this scam is only a small part.

    I tend to agree that Nationwide should not be held responsible but on the other hand look at the advertising used to get us to invest. I had a mortgage and savings with Nationwide and the saving continued after the mortgage was paid off. About 15 years ago I removed all my savings, having the same view as Stillreading. Their adverting claims were that they were better than banks and looked after their customers better, but they were only looking after borrowers. When I have seen adverts recently, I am grateful I left them. How can the Ombudsman be involved when the Nationwide was not responsible for giving investment advice with somebody else and the Ombudsman could not investigate a scammer? The police should be investigating a crime.

    The victim and compensation attitude is spreading through everything. As well as lack of responsibility there is no accountability of the guilty and others are left picking up the cost when compensation is awarded. It is exactly the same with covid vaccine injury because our stupid government agreed that the manufacturers could not be held accountable, so it all falls on taxpayers as usual.

    The lack of personal responsibility is now very apparent in the views on the state of the economy. Many now believe the rich should pay up. Where do they think that the money is going to come from? If extra taxes come from withdrawing saving the banks don’t have the money to pay out. If it comes from selling investments somebody else has to buy them. As well as a lock of responsibility we have an increasing sense of entitlement to what somebody else has earned and that money can be withdrawn from the economy with no consequences.

  • Stillreading

    You mention the covid vaccine, Thorpe, the most recent and most egregious means of mass control. I am listening right now to You & Yours on R4 taking a look at the deplorable situation for elderly residents of (often mis-named) Care Homes. Some residents have dementia or Alzheimer’s and even for those who don’t, coping with the challenging dodgy WIFI connections and time delays of Skype or Zoom etc. were beyond their capabilities. Forbidding residents of nursing and care home from seeing in person their spouses, children, grandchildren, was truly deplorable. May it never happen again – yet I fear it could and possibly will. And people will obey, having been conditioned into a state of terrorised and conditioned compliance. Only this morning I observed a docile queue of half a dozen elderly customers, carefully stationing themselves at 6ft. distance one from the other, OUTSIDE the local branch of a well-known pharmacy, more than half of them wearing masks! Many where I live routinely still wear masks in the street! Germany, I read, is reintroducing “covid restrictions” – masks on all public transport, masks in some schools – in view of increased cases of a bug which is now no worse than a winter cold! As for the vaccine – which isn’t a vaccine as we previously understood it to be – I’ve had three jabs and given what we now know I will never have another. The Government SHOULD compensate those irreversibly damaged by the jabs. It was Government persuasion (propaganda?) which drove us all to get the jab, under the impression that we were protecting both ourselves and those with whom we came into contact. Now we know that Pfizer was aware from the start that much of what we were being told was untrue. In my view, since Pfizer evidently knowingly lied to our and other Governments, those Governments should now be free in Law to prosecute Pfizer for damages to cover all vaccine deaths and injuries. When it comes to taking personal responsibility, that is exactly what I and millions of my fellow citizens thought we were doing when we masked up, lined up and presented our arms for the jab!

  • A Thorpe

    As a follow up to Stillreading, there is a two-part paper by Dr Aseem Malhotra published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance called “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on Covid19 vaccines through real evidence-based medicine”. A search will bring up a link to the article, but click on Home at the top left and it lists the two papers and opening those will allow you to download them. They are an easy read and explain a lot.

    Also related to the general theme of responsibility The Conservative Woman has a short piece about an interview with Lord Frost which is on YouTube with the title – Lord David Frost: “The Budget Was Absolutely the Right Thing to Do”. I haven’t had time to listen, and the title doesn’t look promising, but it sounds interesting from the brief article.

  • Bill Airway

    Spot on.

  • Carolyn Hill

    My guilty pleasure is watching “For Love or Money”. I simply cannot believe how deluded the victims of these scammers are. Old or middle aged frumpy women are quite prepared to believe that the attractive man 20 years their junior has fallen in love with them after communicating for a whole week. There was an 88 year old last week who could not believe the 44 year old she talking to, who allegedly couldn’t wait to marry her, was actually a scammer. The scammers spurious reasons for needing money are laughable. Many of the scammers send a picture of their bank statement showing that they have millions in their current account and will therefore be able to repay her as soon as they get themselves out of their current pickle. My first question would be: why do you have millions lying around in a bank account? Why don’t you have it invested somewhere sensible? Men are no better! Unattractive men in their 60s are quite prepared to believe that this very attractive 30 year old is now his soul mate and quite prepared to come to the uk to meet up with him if he’d just cough up the air fare after he’s paid for her mother’s hospital bills. As the saying goes “There’s no fool like an old fool”.

    And yes, I’m incensed that the FO found in favour of the stupid victim. She was warned by Nationwide but all of the victims invariably ignore the warnings from the banks, they are too besotted! As for the 8% what the hell?

  • Stillreading

    Thank you Thorpe for the information on Dr.Malhotra’s article. I saw him speaking on GBNews recently. He is not the first accredited medical practitioner to speak out against the mRNA “vaccine” and given time it is inevitable that more will follow. This doctor’s credentials are impeccable and his record irreproachable. I know from family members that until now the overwhelming proportion of doctors have unquestioningly accepted the “official” view of the jab’s efficacy, both to protect against and to prevent the passing on of the covid virus. Since the start of the covid crisis, unless a doctor’s specific area of expertise has been immunology or, as in Dr.Malhotra’s case, cardiology, he or she has had no cause to question the efficacy of the vaccine and has carried on treating the multiplicity of unassociated diseases whilst encouraging everyone to take the jab in the hope of keeping hospital admissions down to acceptable levels as well, of course, as offering protection to individual patients. However, as ever more information is emerging on both the very limited and short-term effectiveness of the jab and its potential to cause death, serious disease or disability, an eventual change of attitude is inevitable. Meanwhile it is deplorable that the Government is still pushing this potentially permanently damaging product and procedure on the mass of the population.

  • Brenda Blessed

    Ii is also possible that those two unnamed people might have taken Nationwide for a ride. Indeed, the scammed and the scammer could be the same person.

    I was thinking of ways in which to create a scam in which the scammed person is really the scammer. Of course not to do it myself, just as a mental exercise.

    It occurred to me that what happened in this case could be two scammers or just one scammer scamming the bank or building society.

    She would withdraw the cash into another person’s or her own crypto account and then claim that she had been scammed. Nationwide would, of course have refused to repay her. But she would write into the media and get the advice to contact the Financial Ombudsman. If it ruled in her favour, Nationwide would have to pay up.

    Anyhow, everyone should know that the money that banks and building societies pay out in loans and mortgages is created out of thin air by just creating a credit account to the lenders and debiting an asset account in their accounts. Every debit must have a credit and vice versa in double-entry accounting.

    Lenders’ deposits are liabilities and cannot be converted into assets by using deposited money to give loans and mortgages. Deposits are really like shares giving the depositors a stake in the bank or building society that pays interest. Therefore, too much lending increases the money supply and increases inflation.

    Doing that only becomes a big/huge problem when the loans/mortgages cannot be repaid. As was the case when the US Federal Mortgage Corporations issued sub-prime mortgages like confetti that went bad and caused the banking crisis. Another deliberately engineered globalist crisis, in my opinion.

    The link below goes to Neil Oliver show of 1/10/22 on GB News in which he explains the scandal of modern banking.

    Neil Oliver Live | Saturday 1st October –

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