In this instance, the fraudster was careful not to say a safe account was being used, as this particular trick is known as a safe account scam. It shows how sophisticated quite a well-known scam has become. It relies on persuading an account holder to actively send money to an account held by criminals.
A new agreement between many banks means customers can be warned if a name and account details do not match, as they would not have done here. But the receiving bank, Clydesdale, has not yet signed up to this arrangement.
Clydesdale declined to comment on the individual case but said it planned to introduce confirmation of payees later this year.
The ruse is also used to rob people of large sums including home deposits that should be destined to a solicitor’s bank account, and in romance scams, where fraudsters gain the trust of a mark to persuade them to make loans.
Ms Hartley’s bank Barclays said: “Following an investigation of this case, it is evident that our customer has been the unfortunate victim of a very sophisticated scam. We have provided the customer with a full refund of the amount that was lost.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications to customers in cases where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service.”