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UK bank accuses woman of fraud just because she is trans

UK bank accuses woman of fraud just because she is trans

A UK bank has accused a woman of fraud just because she is trans.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has warned the biggest banks in the UK to ensure they properly handle sensitive situations.

For example, the dispute resolution body confused a female customer’s gender reassignment with fraud blocking her credit card.

A few days before the account was suspended, the woman Ms B gave the bank a ring. Confirming her identity, she was told her address couldn’t be changed.

When she was trying to pay the deposit for her new kitchen a few days later, her card was declined.

Phoning the bank to tell them what had happened, she was told the card had been stopped, and she needed to go in her local branch – forced to disclose her trans status.

A member of staff told her the card had been blocked because concerns had been raised about the pitch of Ms B’s voice, so the bank had treated any subsequent transactions as fraud.

Having transitioned three years ago, with the bank informed, Ms B was upset. A member of staff apologized, with the next day a letter arriving confirming Ms B’s address had been updated.

The Financial Ombudsman Service stepped in, informing the bank that Ms B had to disclose sensitive personal information to someone she didn’t know and had to find an alternative way to pay the deposit for her kitchen.

‘Ms B told us that she’d found this particularly distressing. She said she was angry at having to explain herself – when she knew the bank already had the information on file,’ a spokesperson said.

‘Looking at everything that had happened, we could understand why Ms B had remained so frustrated and upset – even though, on the face of it, the bank had sorted out the original problem. The bank admitted that they hadn’t considered what Ms B had been through because of their mistake.

‘In the circumstances, we told the bank to pay Ms B £500 ($759, €670) – to recognise the considerable frustration and embarrassment they’d caused.