In a lot of cases, if you have been defrauded using a debit or credit card or your bank account then you can get the money back from your card supplier or bank.
But there are many cases where this is not possible or a bank or card supplier was not involved.
The banks do at times fob off customers who have been duped by fraudsters into emptying their accounts. Instead of offering refunds, banks do tell victims to contact Action Fraud - the cyber-crime reporting centre, but that doesn’t get your money back.
Official statistics show that eight in ten fraud cases sent to Action Fraud, run by the City of London Police, are binned. Its call centre is being bombarded with 30,000 cases a month and it passes just 6,000 to Police forces.
Only 1 per cent of the cases police do receive are investigated — which means only 1 in 500 complaints is acted upon. A spokesman from Action Fraud said: 'We only pass on lines of inquiry with a realistic chance of a criminal conviction. There are finite resources and, much like other crime, it is not realistic for the police to investigate them all.'
A lot of people appeal to the financial ombudsman, which is inundated with a record 100 complaints a week from victims. It says four in ten of these were unfairly palmed off by banks.
SIX STEPS TO BEAT THE CROOKS
1 If someone contacts you claiming to be from your bank’s fraud department, be suspicious and remember that a bank, police force or other authority would never call and ask for personal details or tell you to move money to a ‘safer location’. If you do get such a call then tell them you’ll call the fraud department to verify. Make sure you wither ensure the line is off before dialling or use another phone as scammers have been known to keep the line open and pretend to be your bank.
2 Be wary of all unsolicited calls, texts and emails — even if they look the same as past communications. Scammers will sometimes the exact format used by a specific bank. Also be suspicious over solicitors letters where money is involved e.g. over a house purchase. If you are due to make a payment for example for building work and you get an email saying their account details have changed, call and verify the change.
3 Beware of adverts from companies offering cash rewards for simple work such as filling in online surveys. They may ask for your bank details to pay you — and then try to access your account.
Banking fraud is rising at a whopping 72 per cent a year. Losses reached £755 million in 2015.
Banks must cover fraud losses unless they can prove the customer was 'grossly negligent'. You might be refused a refund if you write down passwords in an obvious place or tell someone your PIN.
RBS says 70 per cent of customers hit by scams never get a penny back. Figures are believed to be similar at other banks.
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