5 min read.
Things you asked

Why has my Dozens account been frozen?

17 April 2019

Very occasionally Dozens current accounts have to be frozen. Here’s some information about why it happens and what it means.

Most of our customers won’t ever have their account frozen but for the small minority who do, it can be frustrating and upsetting.

The decision to freeze a customer’s account isn’t ever taken lightly, and we’ll only ever take this action if we believe there is good reason to do so.

Once we’ve come to the stage of freezing an account, we’re limited by law in the information we’re able to give about the situation. Because of this, we do experience complaints and negative reviews along the lines of ‘my account has been frozen for no reason’.

When you’re scrolling through reviews for any financial institution, you’re likely to come across a few like this. These kinds of complaints will also be the loudest, often as a method of putting pressure on the institution to change the situation, or as a way of getting back at them, by lowering ratings and inspiring doubt. Sometimes these complaints are just a way of the person venting their frustration that the institution has prevented a crime and recovered money that can be returned to the victim of it.

We don’t ever like to disappoint people, but we do take all of our regulatory responsibilities exceptionally seriously, and will always respond appropriately to issues that arise. In some cases that means freezing an account for the protection of others.

While we can’t provide information in specific cases, we wanted to shed what light we can on why accounts might be frozen and what happens in such instances, as well as our regulatory responsibilities. 

There are two main reasons an account might be frozen

For a customer's protection

If we believe a customer’s account security has been compromised, and that account could be accessed by an unauthorised person, we would take the action to freeze the account as a means of protection. Equally, if we believe there have been any suspicious, illegal or unexplained transactions on a customer’s account we might freeze the account. 

If it is required by law

We would also freeze an account on request of the police, if such a situation were to arise. Equally, if we believe there have been any suspicious, illegal or unexplained transactions on a customer’s account we might freeze the account.

In either of these circumstances, we are obligated by our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to freeze access to the account. 

The only other cases where an account might be frozen would be if we discovered an account was being used for business purposes or by residents outside of the UK. This is because Dozens only currently offer accounts for private use for customers resident in the United Kingdom.

In the unlikely event of your account being frozen, we’ll let you know straight away 

We’ll get in touch by email as soon as your account has been frozen to let you know that you’ll no longer be able to access your account.

Depending on the situation, we may ask you for some information to give context to the account activity that led to the account being frozen.

We’ll stay in close contact with you, and strongly recommend that you do the same, providing any information requested promptly, which will help us resolve the situation as quickly as we can – whether that resolution is the unfreezing of your account, or the definitive account closure. 

By law we’re not able to give customers details on why their account has been frozen

This includes the reason why the account has been frozen, as well as how long it’s going to be frozen for. An account may remain frozen for a minimum of two weeks (it may be much longer than this), and we simply have to ask the affected customer to be patient with us while we look into the issue before coming to a decision as to whether to unfreeze or close the account.

Any money in a frozen account is held securely in a segregated account during the freeze

Dozens can’t access this money while it’s held in the segregated account, other than to instruct that the balance is transferred to another account nominated by the customer if it is concluded that the funds are to be returned to the customer.

If the funds in the frozen account are found to belong to a victim of fraud conducted by the account holder, the funds will be returned to the victim’s nominated account. 

In the event the funds in the frozen account are found to not belong to the account holder, but the victim cannot be found, they will be retained in accordance with our regulatory responsibilities as laid out by the FCA.

Accounts can be unfrozen

If there is nothing untoward happening on a customer’s account and any questions we have are satisfactorily answered, we’ll look to unfreeze the account as soon as we can. We would never want to deny a customer access to their account unless it is absolutely necessary.

We only monitor accounts for suspicious activity

We use tools to monitor numbers and sizes of transactions made by our customers. These help us to identify suspicious activity. We’re continually enhancing our tools to ensure they’re able to spot new patterns of suspicious behaviour to help prevent fraud and keep our customers safe.

We take our regulatory responsibilities very seriously

By law Dozens has clear regulatory obligations. We must ensure that our accounts aren’t ever used for ill-gotten money (chiefly funds that are the proceeds of crime or fraud), money laundering or in relation to terrorist financing.

If we have suspicions that an account is being used for any of these activities we’re required to freeze the account and file a report with the police and/or with the National Crime Agency. In this instance we can’t move any funds in the frozen account until we get consent from the authorities. 

We’ll do everything we can to detect and prevent ill-gotten funds being moved through our accounts to help keep our customers safe.  

 

Originally posted 17 April 2019. Updated 12th May 2020

 

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