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 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:
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.