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The Financial Ombudsman intervenes in the case of unauthorized transactions

23 September 2021

The Financial Ombudsman is increasingly intervening in the case of loss of funds by bank customers as a result of unauthorized transactions. Victims often associate this fact with a telephone conversation with a person claiming to be a bank employee. Not only do customers lose the money in their accounts, but they also have to pay back loans and credits that they never took out. The Financial Ombudsman’s estimates, based on data from the National Bank of Poland (NBP), suggest that there may be as many as 250 thousand such offences this year.

According to NBP information, the average amount of funds lost as a result of unauthorized payment transactions is about 300 PLN. However, there are cases when customers report crimes for amounts much higher than PLN 100 thousand.

– In the first half of this year alone, we accepted approximately 700 reports of unauthorized transactions. That is not much, considering the scale of the phenomenon. However, the Financial Ombudsman receives mainly the most serious cases, connected with large sums of money and long-term, high loan liabilities – says Prof. Mariusz Golecki, the Financial Ombudsman.

In recent days, the Financial Ombudsman has made claims on behalf of clients in cases involving the loss of large funds as a result of unauthorized transactions. The cases concern a senior citizen who lost more than PLN 160 thousand and a client representing the younger generation who actively uses technology on a daily basis, and who declared a loss of over PLN 140 thousand

According to the explanations provided by the senior customer, after all his savings accumulated on the account had been withdrawn as a result of unauthorized transactions, the criminals led the bank to withdraw the amounts of two loans under alleged agreements concluded through the Internet banking system.

The customer claims that he did not apply for any loan or take any action leading to a loan agreement or transaction authorization. Immediately upon discovering the incident, the customer reported the suspected crime to law enforcement and handed over his phone to them to see if it had been infected with malware. The police found no irregularities regarding the phone.

The customer also filed a complaint with the bank, seeking a refund of the lost funds and a waiver by the bank of claims related to the alleged loan agreements. Despite the passage of several months, the client has not received a refund of the lost funds and the bank has not recognized the loan agreements as non-existent.

The second case involves a client from a younger generation who actively uses technology and e-banking solutions. The customer associates the loss of nearly PLN 140 thousand with a telephone conversation with a person calling from the bank’s official helpline and claiming to be its employee. A third party withdrew all savings from the client’s account, and additionally led the bank to withdraw the amount of the alleged loans.

The customer immediately filed a complaint with the bank regarding the unauthorized payment transactions and notified law enforcement authorities. Nevertheless, the customer was not reimbursed for the transaction amounts, and the bank began collecting instalments of the loans paid to the perpetrators of the deed.

In both cases, the Financial Ombudsman requested the banks to pay for the unauthorized transactions and to declare the loan agreements non-existent. The value of claims in the case of a senior citizen is over PLN 160 thousand, in the case of the female client – PLN 140 thousand.

The Financial Ombudsman emphasizes that the problem of unauthorized transactions and loan and credit disbursements by unauthorized persons also concerns young people who are perfectly familiar with new technologies.

– The tools of the fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated. Criminals use social engineering, often putting very high pressure on the victim. They use the possibilities offered by modern technology, make their actions credible and often force their victims to behave in a certain way. Any of us can become a victim of this type of crime. All it takes is for a criminal to hit on our worse day and less vigilance. That is why I once again appeal that if you receive a call from a person claiming to be a bank employee, you should ask the caller for their name and position, hang up and call the bank yourself to verify the information given, encourages the Financial Ombudsman.

The information is not a source of law but is the result of an analysis of individual factual situations carried out by the Financial Ombudsman as part of the protection of clients of financial market entities.


The Financial Ombudsman’s website in Ukrainian
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