Margate Independent Food Bank ‘relief’ at reimbursement after falling victim to £28,000 scam

Margate Indepedent Foodbank Photo Twinkle Troughton

A Margate food bank that fell victim to a scam that saw £28,000 taken from their bank account has been reimbursed.

Yesterday (November 13) John Finnegan, who launched Margate Independent Food Bank with co-director Darryn De La Soul in June, says he was tricked by a caller he thought was from Starling Bank into moving the entire cash amount from the company account to his personal account.

But the cash did not deposit into his account and disappeared.

Distraught John and Darryn said the food bank money had been made up of a substantial corporate donation, plus many donations from individuals and they had been looking financially secure for the next six to eight months.

The food bank at Union Methodist Church helps 300 households a week in Thanet feed themselves.

Starling Bank is signed up to the Contingent Reimbursement Model of helping victims of fraud, with accounts protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

A spokesperson for Starline Bank has now confirmed the money has already been reimbursed in just 24 hours, saying: “We have reimbursed the customer under the Contingency Reimbursement Model Code while we continue to investigate this case with the fraudster’s bank.”

Darryn and John from Margate Independent Food Bank

Darryn said: “It is a huge relief being reimbursed. We can only thank everyone for their support and for Starling Bank for being so quick to sort it out.“

A Kent Police spokesman confirmed the incident is being investigated, saying: “At 2.26pm on Friday 13 November Kent Police received a report that a Margate based charity had been defrauded.

“The informant said they transferred a large sum of money after receiving an instruction to do so from a fraudster, who claimed to be from their bank.

“Action Fraud is the lead agency for incidents of this nature, however officers have made further contact with the victim to gather more information and provide advice.”

Margate Independent Foodbank

The food bank is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am until 1pm at the Union Methodist Church, Union Row Margate, CT9 1PP, just behind Iceland.

If you are donating money, the safest way to do it is through the Crowdfunder:

Find the food bank on facebook here

Action if you have been scammed

If you think you’ve been scammed, you should call your bank or card provider immediately.

Tell the bank what happened, and let them know the bank account number your money was sent to.

Your bank might be able to either stop the transaction from going ahead or recover your money from the fraudster’s account.

But speed is of the essence for this, so it’s important to let your bank know as soon as it happens.


  1. Everyone should know by now never to continue a phone call from someone who claims to be your bank and certainly NEVER to follow an instruction to move funds. Put the phone down, ring your bank immediately and report the scam, and also contact the Police. Never give any bank account details or card information to anyone who has phoned you or to anyone – unless you are confident that they are who they say they are.

  2. A good result, but difficult to believe that someone is still gullible in falling for this years old scam.

  3. Further to Stephen’s reply – when you put the phone down and then ring your bank, do it from another phone as often the scammers have a way of being able to intercept calls from the same phone and make out they are your bank when you call.

  4. Good job well done bank. I sent £250 off to buy an item on eBay it was a false Business I never received the goods eBay reimbursement me the £250 within a few days so did PayPal. I contacted PayPal to tell them I had already been paid by eBay and PayPal told me I had no need to send the money back to them. I understand that eBay now own PayPal, they didn’t when this happened.

  5. Great news. John is a beacon of light in another wise dark year Well done the bank but really the evil people perpetrating these type of crimes should be investigated with as much force as possible and severe punishment imposed

  6. Andrew, the bank is signed up to a compensation scheme, this likely means they have been reimbursed from a pot solely for this purpose, the arshole that scammed them likely still has the money, hopefully the investigation will lead directly to them.

    Personally I think whoever did this is local and possibly known to the charity! is it coincidence that they knew their bank and the charity had no procedure’s in place to stop one person having full access to the balance held in the bank?

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