Consumer expert tells banks to not blame customers for scams 

BANKS are being reminded not to assume their customers are at fault when they fall victim to sophisticated scams says News consumer expert, Richard Thomson.

The warning comes from the Financial Ombudsman Service ahead of the introduction of a new code of conduct to tackle the surge in so-called ‘transfer scams.’

The News’ Streetwise column has been at the forefront of taking on the banking sector for jumping to conclusions about customers’ credibility after falling for rogue investment scams.

Readers have been refunded £15,000 when a fake online video tricked them into investing their money with unregulated crypto currency dealers.

From the September 1 it will become increasingly difficult for banks to avoid refunding fraud victims by claiming they have been ‘grossly negligent’, as criminals have become adept at deploying sophisticated and credible scam methods.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said: ‘Both banks and their customers frequently tell us in strong terms they haven’t done anything wrong.

‘But it’s not fair to call a customer grossly negligent simply because they’ve fallen for a scam.’

Streetwise reminds readers banks can only refuse a refund for unauthorised payments if it can prove their customer specifically authorised the transaction.

A bank simply cannot assert that the use of a password, card, or PIN number conclusively proves payment had been authorised.

Banks have to prove a customer was at fault because they acted fraudulently or because they deliberately failed to protect their card details, PIN, or password in a way that permitted the transaction to proceed.