VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Banks Finally Forced to Repay Fraud

VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Finally! Banks are finally forced to clean up about fraud refunds

  • Code of Conduct Requiring Companies to Repay Impeccable Scam Victims Becomes Legal
  • Complaints from scammers who trick customers into transferring money have skyrocketed
  • Criminals stole a devastating £4million every day in the first half of the year

Finally! Banks are finally being forced to clean up about fraud refunds.

In fact, the existing voluntary code of conduct that requires companies to repay impeccable scam victims will be mandated by law.

It’s a big win for Mail’s Stop the Bank Scammers campaign, and it means the high street giants who plan to deny their customers the right things will soon have nowhere to hide.

Refund Scheme: The existing voluntary code of conduct that requires companies to repay impeccable scam victims is made a legal requirement.

It’s just a shame it took so long to get here.

We’ve known for years that the fraud refund scheme doesn’t work. Just yesterday, the Financial Ombudsman announced that the number of complaints about ‘lawful fraud’ – where scammers trick customers into transferring money – rose by 30% between July and September. Six in ten of these cases were awarded in favor of the customer.

This proves that when it comes to dealing with fraud, banks are far too often wrong. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as many customers do not present their complaints to the Ombudsman.

This could be because they don’t know they can do it, are too embarrassed, or simply because their bank has done such a good job of making them think they’re to blame.

In fact, official fraud data shows that less than half of scam victims are reimbursed. And over a three-month period, an undisclosed bank made refunds in only 1 pc of cases.

With scammers getting more sophisticated, this is unacceptable. Fraud has spiraled out of control since the start of the Covid crisis, with criminals stealing a devastating £4 million every day for the first half of the year.

And with Christmas shopping, like Black Friday just around the corner, being easy prey for online crooks, there’s no chance of slowing down.

Under new proposals drafted by the payment watchdog last week, major companies will be required to publish data every six months, detailing exactly what proportion of scam victims are left out — and face fines if they don’t treat their customers fairly.

They will also have to declare how many fraudulent payments have been sent and received.

This is exactly what is needed to force banks to take fraud more seriously. As we’ve reported time and time again, too many suspicious transactions are still allowed to go unchallenged.

Making banks responsible for repaying these losses is the only way to really incentivize them to step up security controls.

Of course, other organizations urgently need to step up their efforts too – not least internet giants like Google and Facebook, which routinely allow fraudsters to advertise scams online.

But banks are on the front lines in the fight against fraud and are responsible for safeguarding our money.

By naming and shaming those who routinely disappoint their customers, they have no choice but to do better. If only to protect their own bottom line.

Blooming cheek!

In just six weeks, I received no fewer than 15 emails from flower delivery company Bloom & Wild. Whether it’s Fall, Halloween, Christmas, or World Kindness Day (whatever that is), there’s no nonsense the company hasn’t used to market its wares.

But what annoyed me the most is that the discount codes offered as a thank you to such a loyal customer are often only valid for 24 hours.

And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being pressured to make a quick purchase for fear of missing out on a bargain.

So you can imagine how I feel about Black Friday: an entire day (or week, as it becomes more and more common) devoted to enticing shoppers to spend huge amounts on a whim.

As we report, these so-called ‘discount’ deals are often nonsense, with many retailers artificially inflating prices in the run-up so that items look cheaper on the day.

This means that unless you have been determinedly tracking the price of your desired item throughout the year, you won’t know if you’re really getting a good deal.

Shopping doesn’t have to be so stressful. Call me a party pooper, but I’ll steer clear.