UK: Who is liable when consumers get tricked?

The Payment System Regulator (PSR) has said that banks need to improve the way they work together in responding to reports of scams, while also saying some banks could do more to identify potentially fraudulent incoming payments and protect accounts from scammers. These comments came in response to a complaint by the consumer group Which?, with the group believing banks are not shouldering enough responsibility when customers are tricked into transferring their money.

Currently, UK consumers have no legal rights to get their money back if they are conned into transferring money to a fraudster. Which? found out that around 60% of consumers are not aware of the fact that they have no protection from their bank when they are defrauded in this way.

Despite this, PSR also said that there is currently not enough evidence to justify making banks liable for these types of fraud. In order to attribute liability to the banks PSR would need to develop, collect and publish robust scam data.

According to RFi Group data, over 50% of the banking customers consider safety the most important factor when it comes to purchases and transferring their money to third parties. An additional 1 in 5 considers additional benefits, such as insurance, to be most important, showing that they are concerned about problems that might occur during a transfer or with the transfer itself.

PSR managing director Hannah Nixon said: “…It is evident that this type of scam is a growing problem that needs to be tackled. We need a concerted and coordinated industry-wide approach to protect consumers better, and we need it to start today."

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