‘I started with a £190 bet on cryptocurrency – but ended up losing £230k’

Then Coinbase raised doubts about the legitimacy of your story and suggested I might be the one being duped by you. I was quick to slap this down, as I was sure you were an innocent victim. Something was amiss, but I felt there had to be another explanation. If your £240,000 wasn’t sent to Coinbase, then where did you send it? You finally managed to retrieve your online transaction history. Against each payment was a code showing where the money went. Around £180,000 was sent to a smaller cryptocurrency company called Coinpass. The rest was sent to another trading firm called CB Live.

NatWest had misinterpreted these codes as Coinbase and hadn’t bothered to check them. It misinformed us both and sent me on a wild-goose chase after your money.

By this point I was spitting feathers. My investigation had descended into a farce as a result of incompetence I have rarely seen from a reputable institution. Aware it had messed up, NatWest told me your case had been reopened. There was still hope. But then it told me it couldn’t refund the money because your details had passed through Coinpass’s “know your customer” security processes. I told NatWest it was talking utter rubbish. Under its anti-fraud code there are no exemptions for cryptocurrency wallets or “kyc” security processes. This was just another pathetic excuse.

Then, in a highly unusual move, it provided me with the personal phone number of Coinpass’s senior personnel, suggesting I pursue it instead. Within minutes of the call I realised this was another dead end. This time Coinpass confirmed your money had landed in an account set up in your name, before being quickly moved elsewhere. However, it is a tiny company which couldn’t afford to reimburse you in a month of Sundays.

All these twists and turns were doing you no good. You were on the edge. I made your case to NatWest again. It came back and admitted what it should have done from the start: that it failed to honour its public fraud pledge by protecting you from the scam. Even one phone call asking pertinent questions such as what is the company’s Financial Conduct Authority registration number might have made you see it was a phoney.