Fraud victims struggle to get money backOne in five financial fraud victims not reimbursed

25 June 2009

ID theft

New research has found that one in five victims of financial fraud have not managed to retrieve the money they have lost.

Some one in four people surveyed by Which? said they had been a victim of financial fraud and while most had managed to reclaim the lost money from their bank or credit card provider, 20 per cent of victims said they had been left out of pocket.

If you're unlucky enough to be a victim of financial fraud, your bank should give you your money back unless it can prove you acted fraudulently or without reasonable care.  

Natwest refused to reimburse fraud victim

Which? member Iain Richardson had more than £2,000 stolen within 20 minutes of having his debit card stolen, but Natwest turned down his fraud claim because his Pin was used to withdraw the cash. 

It said he must have been negligent, and when he appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) it also turned down his case. 

Also in June 2009, a judge ruled against a Halifax customer who wanted compensation for money taken from his account, because his Pin number had been used.

More guidance from FSA needed

Chip and Pin is the most secure method of payment, but a fraudster can still discover and use someone's Pin by looking over their shoulder at a cashpoint before stealing the card. 

Which? is calling on the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to provide more detailed guidance on the evidence banks have to give in card fraud cases.

Card fraud at cash machines increased by 31 per cent between 2007 and 2008, and around £609.9m was lost through card fraud last year.

Martyn Hocking, Editor, Which?, said: 'Financial fraud is inconvenient and stressful, and can also be costly if you're unable to recover your losses. 

'Fraudsters can be extremely clever and may need just a few details to access your accounts, but you can significantly reduce the risk of fraud if you're vigilant. 

'Most of us know that we shouldn't write down our Pin, but we should also shred bank statements, be cautious about passwords we use and think twice before posting personal details online.'

To find out more about how to tackle financial fraud, visit the Which? fraud advice guide.

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.