'Britain's biggest banks are now forcing their online customers to tick a box that could later deny them a refund if they are defrauded.
Experts fear the new tick boxes could give banks an excuse to refuse a refund under the new compensation code launched yesterday to protect customers from authorised push payment (APP) scams — the fastest-growing type of fraud in the UK.
APP fraud is where someone tricks you into sending them money from your account after contacting you by phone or email, pretending to be someone else.
The new rules will see victims of such scams reimbursed when they have taken reasonable care.
In a bid to prevent such fraud, banks have been using alerts to raise awareness of common tactics used by scammers, such as posing as bank staff or police.
But now, banks are demanding that customers confirm they are aware of the risks before they approve the payment — prompting fears that banks could use these agreements to wriggle out of refunding victims.
So far, Barclays is the only bank to state this risk clearly to customers on its webpage. It warns: 'If you confirm this payment, and it turns out to be fraudulent, it is unlikely we will refund you.'
Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest warn customers it will be difficult to 'recover' their money if they go ahead with the payment and it turns out to be a scam.
Under the new, voluntary code of conduct, providers must present customers with 'effective warnings' about scams when transferring money online.
However, the rules also say that if banks can prove customers ignored these warnings before making a payment or setting up a new payee, they do not have to refund them.'
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