FOS focuses on fraud and scams

FOS’ latest Ombudsman News focuses on frauds and scams. It comments on the loopholes in new technologies that fraudsters use, and the challenges of addressing a complaint where both customer and bank are adamant they are not responsible. FOS notes that although the involvement of a criminal third party makes it hard to determine cases, it nevertheless expects banks to investigate thoroughly and consider if they could have done more to protect customers. It also notes that banks often contend the customer has acted with gross negligence, thereby meaning the bank is not liable, but FOS says this is increasingly hard to prove. The edition includes case studies, including a number addressing whether a customer has been grossly negligent.

Examples include whether replying to a text message a customer believed to have been from his bank was grossly negligent. In this case, the customer showed that the pattern of events and the numbers used exactly matched what his bank had previously done. The bank contended that it had sent a general email to all customer about scams which should have put him on notice.  FOS concluded the customer had acted reasonably.  Similarly, a customer whose SIM details had been stolen and who had at the same time had difficulty logging into what she believed was her bank’s online banking service, but which was in fact a sophisticated copy of the site was also deemed not to have been at fault. The pattern of decisions shows that even where it is clear that some person has used customer details, this will often not mean the customer has been grossly negligent.

The edition looks also at the last quarter’s complaints, with the majority still being about PPI, and a sizeable number about payday loans.