These days, it’s often loopholes in new technologies, rather than in old ones, that fraudsters are using to their advantage. The first steps toward being scammed may be putting details into an identical, but fake banking website – or responding to a text message that, on the face of it, looks like it’s from a consumers’ bank. Customers transferred £240 million to fraudsters last year as the sophistication of attacks increases, and banks are currently refunding a quarter of this figure, according to data from fraud experts Intelenet Global Services.
Complaints about fraud and scams involve – whether it’s accepted or suspected – the actions of a criminal third party. So it’s understandable that, in many cases, both the bank and their customer tell the financial ombudsman in strong terms that they’re not responsible for what’s happened. But it doesn’t mean usual standards don’t apply, wrote chief ombudsman at the UK Financial Ombudsman Service, Caroline Wayman.
“As our case studies illustrate, we’ll expect to see clear evidence that banks have investigated thoroughly – and reflected hard on what more might have been done to protect their customers and their money,” she noted. “We also often hear from banks that their customers have acted with ‘gross negligence’ – and this means they’re not liable for the money their customer has lost. However, gross negligence is more than just being careless or negligent. And as our case studies show, the evolution of criminals’ methods – in particular, their sophisticated use of technology and manipulative ‘social engineering’ – means it’s an increasingly difficult case to make.”