Friday, 8 June 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Why won’t the bank take me seriously?

My husband gave me a loan application consent form to sign but I did not agree to sign because we didn’t discuss it before and we have other debts that we are still paying off so I didn’t agree with taking a loan now. He was so desperate that I think he might even forge my signature.

I went to the bank to ask them if its possible to block him from processing this loan since I don’t agree and I suspect that he might even forge my signature. The loan sales personnel said there is nothing they can do to help me and if he forges my signature the loan will be successful. Please help me, what can I do to block this loan. Is it ethical for the bank to say they will process the loan even if the signature is forged?

Ethical? I think the only ethical element to this story is your behaviour. You’ve shown that you are prudent and don’t want to get into greater debt. You’ve shown that you’re prepared to disagree with your husband and stand up for yourself. You’ve shown that you’re prepared to take action to protect your interests and even those of the bank by contacting them. You have my respect.

I probably shouldn’t say too much about your husband, other than observe that he seems to need some personal financial education. You also need some protection against his potential recklessness. Sooner rather than later.

Finally, there is very obviously an ethics shortfall at the bank. Given that you’ve warned them that you suspect your husband might be about to commit a serious fraud, something for which he could easily go to prison for a long time and which might lead them to a serious financial embarrassment, I think its shameful that they aren’t taking your warning more seriously. At the very least I hope they’ve made a note on your file and that of your husband that he poses a risk to them.

I suggest that you write the bank a confidential letter explaining your concerns and deliver it personally to the manager of your branch. Make sure they take your warning seriously.

Is this real?

I have a problem and I don’t know if you can help me. My friend sent me a parcel from the UK and it is now in South Africa. From January until now they have been asking for money to clear the parcel by sending them money and I have sent them P3,000 but now until now there not here and there still asking for more money. The parcel is at the South Africa airport now. What must I do as its been a long time?

Please help me and another thing is that they sent me to the Bank of South Africa as my money is there and said they want me to send them another R10,000 to my account. Is this right what the bank is doing?

Readers of The Voice will know exactly what I’m going to tell you because they’ve seen this story before, many times.

I have bad news for you.

Unfortunately, nothing you have been told is true. There is no parcel waiting for you in South Africa. There is no bank holding the money you’ve already sent and which is now demanding more. Worst of all, there is no friend in the UK. This is all a scam.

Specifically this is an “advance fee scam”. This always involves a story about something valuable, either an inheritance, a lottery win, sometimes a job offer or very often a shipment like this one. However, just before the victim expects to receive this thing, the scammers demand a fee in advance. Sometimes it’s a duty or tax, other times an account opening or attorney’s fee. In cases like yours it’s a shipping cost. Whatever it might be, it’s money that will never be seen again.

I’m really sorry that you came to us after you’d sent them so much money but I hope you understand not to send them anything else. Remember that scammers don’t offer refunds.

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