NATWEST is Britain’s worst bank for helping fraud victims, according to new complaints data.
The bank saw a massive 62 per cent increase in the number of customers complaining about how it handled their fraud or scam case last year, making it the country’s most complained-about bank by victims.
EPA NatWest is the Britain’s worst bank for helping fraud victims, according to new data
New figures obtained by Sun Money show the Financial Ombudsman received 1,921 complaints about the way NatWest handled customers’ fraud or scam cases in 2018/19, up from 1,184 in 2017/18.
The increase is thought to be linked to the rise in sophisticated scams which trick customers into moving their money or handing over online banking passwords or codes – known as “authorised push payment” (APP) fraud.
Banks do not legally have to refund victims of these types of scams, because they can argue customer should not have allowed fraudsters access to their cash.
But they are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to spot, with scammers using tricks like appearing to call or text from genuine bank phone numbers, or posing as police or bank staff to con customers out of money.
The bank saw a 62 per cent increase in complaints last year
Many people who fall for these sophisticated scams feel it wasn’t their fault so their bank should refund them – and complain when it refuses.
The Sun has previously reported cases where NatWest customers have been scammed out of their cash and not refunded by the bank.
Cases include a retired NHS worker who lost £40,000 after she received a call which appeared to be from NatWest and a student who only got back £21.66 after he was scammed out of his £17,000 life savings.
In January, consumer group Which? raised concerns NatWest and RBS customers could be being deliberately targeted by fraudsters, after it realised nearly half of calls to its helpline between May 2018 and January 2019 were customers from the two sister banks.
The huge rise in complaints at NatWest means it has knocked Barclays off the top of the table of Britain’s worst banks for helping fraud customers for the first time since 2015/16.
Barclays also saw a rise in complaints from fraud victims last year, with a 4 per cent increase from 1,642 to 1,706 in 2018/19.
AFP or licensors NatWest has knocked Barclays off the top of the table as Britain’s worst bank for helping fraud customers
The bank has topped the list of complaints every year since 2015/16, and only dropped into second place because of the jump in the number of complaints from NatWest customers.
The third most-complained about bank by fraud victims, Santander, saw a 40 per cent rise in complaints last year, with a total of 1,332 submitted to the Ombudsman. And fourth place HSBC saw a 27 per cent rise to 1,061 complaints.
TSB knocked Bank of Scotland off the list to make fifth place, with 896 complaints about the way it handled fraud cases submitted to the Ombudsman last year.
Last month, TSB became the first bank in the UK to guarantee victims of all types of fraud would be refunded, leading to calls from campaigners for other banks to follow suit.
Overall, there was a 31 per cent increase in total complaints made about the five worst banks for handling fraud cases in 2018/19, compared to the previous year.
Independent complaints resolution website Resolver said it had also seen a 66 per cent increase in complaints about credit card fraud from victims, with 511 complaints last year compared to 306 the year before.
The site only began recording complaints about how banks handled APP fraud cases last year, but has already received 358 complaints in that category.
Martyn James, a spokesman for the website, said: “It’s clear from our users’ comments – and the findings of the Ombudsman – that some banks are better than others when it comes to dealing with push payment fraud.
“Customers tell Resolver that people they know who were hit by the same scams got refunds from other banks, when they didn’t.
“For years now, the banks have had the opportunity to tighten their security procedures to prevent large value transfers being instantly stolen by the fraudsters.
“They’ve repeatedly failed to do so, which makes penalising people harsh, given their lack of basic security checks on atypical transfers. It’s not just about refunds – it’s about preventing the fraud and prosecuting the perpetrators.”
A spokesperson from the Financial Ombudsman Service, said: “Increasingly sophisticated scams could account for the significant increase in fraud and scams complaints we’ve seen.
“Customers who are unhappy with how their bank has dealt with their complaint should get in touch to see if we can help.”
The Sun SaysNATWEST now tops the shameful league of banks failing their customers over fraud.Complaints against it to the Financial Ombudsman soared 62 per cent in a year.
Some banks still deny refunds, claiming it’s victims’ fault if they divulge their account details. But scams are increasingly hard to spot. And TSB has proved its rivals are just making excuses — by reimbursing ANY customer unless they repeatedly fall for the same trick.
It’s time all banks did the same.
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A NatWest spokesman said: “Keeping our customers safe and secure is of paramount importance to us. We invest heavily across all our channels to continuously enhance security features to protect our customers.
“Our layered security systems ensure that a number of controls work in the background, in addition to the personal security credentials our customers use for log in and payment authentication.”
You can contact the Financial Ombudsman for help settling a dispute between you and your bank on 0800 023 4567 or via its website.
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