Internet Banking: beware of scam e-mails and text messages


Fraudsters are getting increasingly sophisticated at sending fake e-mails and text messages which fool bank customers into passing on security details. This is known as Authorised Push Payment fraud.

Some banks are refusing to pay out to scammed customers and argue that passing on these details can constitute "gross negligence". However, this should not always be the default position.

Caroline Wayman of the Financial Ombudsman has recently confirmed that there is a high bar on banks to prove gross negligence by a customer who has inadvertently passed on their bank security details. It is not enough for the customer to be simply careless; they need to be grossly negligent. A customer responding to fake texts or e-mails that look nearly identical to their normal bank correspondence is unlikely to be grossly negligent, but each case will turn on the particular circumstances.   

Banks will likely continue to resist pay-outs as scams become more complex.

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"It's not fair to automatically call a customer grossly negligent simply because they've fallen for a scam. "That's especially true in light of the sophisticated way criminals exploit banks'
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