Woman, 77, robbed of cash card inside city-centre bank
A DISTRAUGHT elderly woman had her card stolen while using an internal cash machine at a St Albans bank – and a total of £500 taken from her account by the thieves. The 77-year-old was using the ATM inside HSBC in Chequer Street, St Albans, on Monday mor
A DISTRAUGHT elderly woman had her card stolen while using an internal cash machine at a St Albans bank - and a total of £500 taken from her account by the thieves.
The 77-year-old was using the ATM inside HSBC in Chequer Street, St Albans, on Monday morning to take out a small amount of cash when her card was stolen.
Her concerned daughter has now issued a warning to other shoppers not to let their guard down because they are inside a bank and not taking the money from an external cash machine.
Mrs Krystyna Ryan, of Sherwood Avenue, St Albans, said her mother, who is not being named, was in the branch at around 10.30am on Monday when a man approached her and asked her if she had lost a £10 note.
Her mother, who is partially disabled, said no but he told her to take it anyway and while she was turned away talking to him, the card was snatched.
Mrs Ryan said her mother thought there were two men involved and one had watched her key in her PIN number because they ran across the road to the nearby NatWest Bank where they withdrew £300 and £200 in separate transactions almost immediately.
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The card was later discarded and discovered by a road sweeper who returned it to the bank.
Mrs Ryan said her mother was unable to make the bank staff understand that the card had been stolen so they did not put an immediate block on it.
They told her that only once this year had anyone had a card stolen in the bank itself. Mrs Ryan said: "You hear about these things happening outside but if you go into a bank you think it is safe."
She said her mother was told that she would not get the money back immediately and there would have to be an investigation into the circumstances before a decision would be taken about a refund.
Her mother also had to go to St Albans police station herself to report the theft.
Mrs Ryan said: "It is all on CCTV but I am very upset with the bank for not taking more responsibility for it because it happened on their premises.
"My mother is frightened now about taking money out and if she does have to, she says she will get a member of the bank staff to stand with her."
A spokesperson for HSBC said it was very rare for such a thing to happen within a branch and CCTV images would be provided for the police in their investigations.
He added: "She will get her money back once we have received her claim form which she should have been given in the branch.
"Under the Banking Code she is a genuine victim and because she is a victim of theft in the branch, the money should be returned very quickly."
He added: "We would very much like to apologise that she went through this ordeal in an HSBC branch.