‘I mistakenly transferred £7,000 to a fraudster, but neither my bank nor theirs would help’

Nationwide said it was unable to recover the funds because of the delay between the payment and the alarm being raised. But Miss Blagden said she was dismayed by the lack of help offered by the building society.

Not only did call centre staff fail to pass her to the society’s fraud team, but it refused to contact Santander on her behalf.

Nationwide said data protection rules prevented it from asking Santander questions about the account, such as whether it was set up correctly, who the account holder was or even where the money was sent on to.

Santander told both Miss Blagden and Telegraph Money that it could not reveal any information at all about the account without the account holder’s permission – even though the account holder appeared to be a fraudster.

It would not even say whether an internal investigation into the fraud was taking place.

Consumer groups are becoming increasingly frustrated by banks’ seeming reluctance to protect consumers from scams.

Earlier this month Which? warned that customers were still being exposed to fraud nine months after it lodged a “super-complaint” to a financial watchdog, the Payment Systems Regulator.

In the regulator’s official response to the complaint, it flagged banks’ poor record of working together to respond to scams as one of its three key findings.

Gareth Shaw of Which? said: “Despite the fact that consumers are still losing life-changing sums of money to fraudsters, it’s not clear what meaningful action the banks have taken to protect their customers. Banks should be working together to stop fraudsters by sharing data and knowledge about scams.

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“It’s vital that the industry, regulator and government act quickly and decisively to tackle financial fraud. Failure to do so will continue to leave consumers paying the price.”

Nationwide has offered Miss Blagden £100 in compensation after it admitted that she should have been put through to its dedicated fraud team. She is still waiting to hear back from Action Fraud, the national fraud and security reporting service, and the police.