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When scammers strike – Your rights if your bank account is hacked

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Nov 8, 2016

In a digital age we are all vulnerable to electronic attack – whether it’s from hackers breaching our computer’s security or (more likely) by scammers getting hold of our confidential security details.

It’s easy to get paranoid about your personal information, but what 99% of criminals want is only your money, and they want it fast and to be gone. 

So, if the worst happens and you find money has been filched from your bank account or racked up on your credit card, what are your rights – and, more importantly, will you lose money?

The answer is actually, more than likely, no, you wont.

Here’s what you need to know.


If it’s your own cash

If you money is taken from your bank account, then the Payment Services Regulations apply. 

These state that, if the money is taken without your permission, you should be refunded immediately.

It’s important to tell your bank as soon as you notice unauthorised withdrawals, although you will only be liable up to £50 for any that are made before you alert them.


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Can the bank refuse to pay back the money?

In short, yes, it can.  If it believes you have been negligent it can refuse.

This might include something like writing the pin number of your cashpoint card where it can be seen, perhaps even keeping it written down with the card, or telling it to anybody, whatever their relationship to you.

Whatever the case, telling your bank fast when you notice something amiss is imperative.


What about credit theft?

Using stolen credit card details is a multi-billion pound criminal business and being a victim is all too common.

Luckily, there is a lot of protection for victims.  

Both the Payment Services Regulations and Consumer Credit Act are relevant here. 

Unauthorised transactions will not be the cardholder’s responsibility as soon as the card or card details are reported stolen or compromised. 

In theory, you can be held liable for the first £50 of fraud, but this is unlikely.  

You may be held responsible, however, if the card supplier decides you’ve been extremely careless or negligent, that you in some way authorised the payment, or, of course, if they believe you’re lying.


There is a lot of protection available to credit card fraud victims


If your bank says ‘No’

If you wait 13 months or more before alerting your bank, they can refuse to reimburse you.

And, of course, banks have teams of investigators to spot suspicious claims and they will be alerted to patterns of spending or behaviour that indicate fraud.

If you claim you have been a victim, there is a chance they will decide they don’t believe you and refuse to pay. Obviously, matters such as whether you’ve claimed fraud previously may be relevant.

Banks will certainly refuse to repay on fraud claims if they believe they can gather enough evidence to show you have been negligent, or, worse, you are making a fraudulent claim. Basically, lying.

But being turned down by the bank – while very disturbing if you genuinely are a victim – does not have to be the end of the matter.

First, you can make a complaint to the bank. Ask them for information about their complaints process and follow it. 

Once that process has been exhausted, and you’re still not happy, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Details of how to make a complaint can be found on its site.

And you can publicise your issue on A Spokesman Said - we're here to fight for you. 

Did you find this guide useful? Share it on Twitter and Facebook to let other consumers know their rights. 


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