HIGH street banks could dodge issuing refunds to fraud victims by asking them to tick a box when making payments.
From Tuesday, banks must now repay victims of bank transfer scams, also known as “authorised push payment” (APP) fraud, even if they feel they’re not to blame.
1 Banks could use fraud warnings as an excuse not to refund victimsCredit: Getty – Contributor
But worryingly, some banks are asking customers to confirm that they are aware of the risks before making a payment, which could be used as a reason not to offer a refund.
Barclays has updated its site to warn users: “If you confirm this payment, and it turns out the be fraudulent, it is unlikely we will refund you.”
NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland – which are both owned by RBS – warn that the cash may be hard to “recover” if it turns out that it’s been sent to fraudsters.
The rules state that providers must give customers “effective warnings” before they make online payments.
How to protect yourself from fraudstersACTION Fraud recommends taking the following advice to stay safe:
When making a purchase, be suspicious of any requests to pay by bank transfer or virtual currency instead of safer methods, such as credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Don’t pay for goods or services unless you know and trust the individual or business.
Personal information obtained from data breaches is making it increasingly easier for fraudsters to create highly targeted phishing messages and calls – watch out for these.
You shouldn’t assume the caller is genuine just because they’re able to provide some basic details about you.
Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information.
But banks are given a get out clause if they can prove that the victim ignored them.
Both NatWest and Nationwide customers have had to confirm understanding before making a payment via a tick-box on its app since March this year, while RBS launched similar warnings in February.
Santander has been running these kind of checks since September on its mobile banking app and rolled them out to its mobile app users last month.
Lloyds and Barclays have provided customers with the tick-boxes since 2017.
Money expert Gareth Shaw from consumer group Which? told This Is Money that while the warning signs are a step in the right direction, it’s “concerning” to think that banks could use them to avoid giving refunds.
Fraud victim shown how his bank details were being given away for free as ‘taster’ on Telegram app
He said: “Banks must show clear evidence their warnings are actually effective before they’re used as a means to deny scam victims reimbursement they might well be entitled to.”
But the industry says that the tick-boxes are only there as a warning sign for customers, and that fraud cases will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesman for the Financial Ombudsman which deals with money disputes told The Sun: “Our ombudsmen make decisions based on what is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances, taking into account relevant laws, regulations, guidance and good industry practice.”
A spokesperson for the trade association that represents the banking industry, UK Finance, added: “Under the code, warnings must be specific and “tailored to the customer type and the APP scam risk.
“Where a customer meets the requisite level of care they will be reimbursed.”
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Around £1million a day – or £674 a minute – is stolen through APP — where customers are tricked into moving money into accounts controlled by criminals.
It’s seen people conned out of large amounts of cash, such as landscape gardener David Hunt who lost nearly £10,000 when scammers pretended to be from HMRC, and grandmother Jo Wilson, who had her £40,000 life savings stolen.
Millions of customers are still at risk of losing their money for good because not every bank has signed up to the code.
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