The UK Government lockdown which has advised people to remain indoors as much as possible, has led many to turn to online shopping to avoid leaving the house. The service is particularly vital for the elderly and vulnerable groups who have been instructed to shield themselves and not leave the house at all.
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However, for those making online deliveries for the first time, chaos can ensue.
This is because some banks have mistakenly raised the transactions as suspected fraud, and have therefore cancelled orders.
The flaw in the security system means many have been left without vital items.
Many took to Twitter to flag the issue with their banks. One social media user wrote: “Morrisons – wondering if you can help? My 71 year old mum who is self-isolating just had her online shop cancelled due to a bank error.
“How can I get her shopping? She was relying on it being delivered.”
A second said: “Lloyds Bank – my card has been blocked as I’ve been doing all my shopping online. In 12 week isolation due to immune compromised toddler.
“Been trying to call every hour today and your phone system just says it’s too busy. How am I supposed to purchase food online?”
And a third wrote: “Absolutely awful, had an online delivery made yesterday and it got cancelled overnight because my bank thought it was fraud. No food for us!”
For many elderly customers, this may be the first time they are shopping online.
This means their transactions could be highlighted by the bank as usual, and stopped to protect their money.
Nationwide responded to the issue, saying it understood customer problems.
A spokesman said: “Online card fraud is one of the biggest types of fraud in the UK, which is why we have protections in place to help prevent our members from falling victim.
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“We appreciate this can be frustrating, especially at the current time when online food slots are hard to come by, but it is important we continue to protect our members and their money.”
Nationwide challenges payments through two factor authentication due to the law, to prevent fraudsters taking advantage of hard-earned money.
The building society said whilst it was not possible for someone to phone ahead of making a payment to confirm their transaction was not fraud, a one time passcode via text would help clear up any uncertainty.
The spokesperson added: “While many payments to the supermarkets in this case are genuine, we do still see fraudsters attempting to use the same store, so it is important we still provide a level of challenge.”
HSBC offered similar advice to its customers. Whilst the bank said there were a multitude of reasons a payment may be declined, it understood concern during the coronavirus crisis.
A spokesperson for the bank said: “We understand that customers may have an increased need to make purchases online during this time, and we’re actively adapting our fraud protections to balance how we can help keep customers safe while also making the payments journey as smooth as possible.”
HSBC also offer customers a one time passcode through text to provide additional authentication, but can also send this code via email, or over the phone.
To ensure any payment is not rejected or blocked, HSBC advises its customers to keep contact details up to date. This, it says, will ensure “a safe and smooth online shopping experience”.
Lloyds Banking Group has also been contacted for comment on the matter.
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