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BTC · 35w

Remember when someone wanted to send you BTC, mistyped your receiving address by one symbol, and your BTC went to a burner address?

It is the stuff of financial nightmares. You get one digit wrong on the sort code, and send a huge amount of cash to the wrong person. They refuse to return it, and the bank washes its hands of the matter, blaming you for the mistake.

That’s what happened to Peter Teich in a case that reveals shocking lapses in Britain’s banking system. Just hours after a solicitor sent the Cambridge resident his £193,000 inheritance after the death of his 100-year-old father, it became apparent that a terrible mistake had been made.

Teich had given his correct name, address and Barclays account number in Cambridge to his solicitor – but the wrong sort code. The money went straight to another Barclays customer, also in the Cambridge area who, alarmingly, had an account with the same number as Teich, though a slightly different sort code. Worse, the person refused to return the money. Barclays knew where his £193,000 was sitting and, Teich says, knew when the recipient dishonestly began to withdraw the cash.

From the end of March next year, name checks will be carried out when UK bank customers send money to other people. The move is designed to tackle the rapidly-growing problem of bank transfer fraud. But there has been criticism of the fact that it has been delayed – it was originally set to start last summer, according to reports. At the moment, anyone wanting to transfer money is asked for the recipient’s account name, account number and sort code. However, it’s typically the case that the bank does not check if the account name is correct. The so-called “confirmation of payee” system that is being introduced from 31 March 2020 will mean customers can check they are paying the right person. When a customer sets up a new payment, their bank etc will be able to check the name of the person or organisation they intend to pay against the actual name held on the account. There will be three possible outcomes. If they used the correct account name, they will rece...
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