Why you may not be refunded for bank fraud


Stolen cardsChris Young/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A number of banks are changing their small print next year, which could mean that if you are a victim of fraud, they will refuse to refund the cash.

So how are the rules changing, who does it affect and what can you do?

The changes

At the moment, when you face the shock and upset of a bank fraud, at least in the vast majority of cases you know that at least you won't end up out of pocket. However, all that could change soon.

The pioneer of this change is Santander. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the bank will be changing the small print in January to outline a number of instances in which the customer will be considered at fault - and the money not returned.

These include using a PIN that can be easily guessed by someone who gets their hands on your card. This may mean you have chosen a sequence of numbers that is too easy to guess (such as your birthday) or that you have used the same digits for a number of PINs - which has enabled someone to access your PIN.

Alternatively, if they view CCTV of you using a cashpoint, and decide that you have failed to hide your number from other people in the area, they could conclude that subsequent fraud was your fault.

The newspaper said that the new rules will even cover mobile phones which use banking apps, or otherwise provide access to your account. If your handset is stolen and you haven't protected it with a PIN, you could be found liable for any subsequent loss.

It added that HSBC had already made a number of these changes, and that it expected the rest of the industry to follow suit.

Watch: Good and bad ATM etiquette

What can you do?

The sums lost through card fraud are astronomical. According to The UK Cards Association, total fraud losses on UK cards totalled £185.0 million between January and June 2012 - including £14.6 million in cash machine fraud and £20.2 million in fraud on lost or stolen cards. The banks seem to be doing their bit to shake off as much responsibility for this fraud as possible.

It means we need to be especially careful of our cards. With technology such as chip and PIN helping to deter fraud, criminals have turned their attention to more straightforward ways of getting hold of people's cards and PINs. This includes distracting people in shops or at cash machines and then stealing their cards without them noticing.

DCI David Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), the special police squad which is sponsored by the banking industry says: "Given the rise in old fashioned crimes - criminals using distraction techniques and duping people into disclosing their passwords and online banking details - we are urging everyone to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal activity."

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