Scam protection is duty of businesses, says Which?

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Businesses should take more responsibility to ensure their customers do not become victims of scams, according to a consumer group.

The government should ensure firms protect people from sophisticated tricks, such as emails claiming to be from banks, Which? has said.

These businesses should be obliged to compensate customers if protection falls short, it added.

The government set up a fraud taskforce in February.

Home Secretary Theresa May, at the launch, said: "The scale and volume of financial activity also brings serious risks of economic crime and real opportunities for criminals to defraud hardworking taxpayers of their savings and earnings.

"Fraud shames our financial system. For too long, there has been too little understanding of the problem and too great a reluctance to take steps to tackle it."

'Off the hook'

Which? is now calling on this taskforce to investigate how well companies are dealing with the scam risk, and make recommendations by the end of the year on how to customers should be protected.

"When we know that even the savviest people can be scammed by fraudsters, it is vital that everything possible is done by businesses to better protect consumers," said executive director Richard Lloyd.

"Where firms haven't done enough to protect their customers, it is entirely right that the responsibility to put things right should be with them. The government's taskforce must not let businesses off the hook, more must be done to prevent fraud and protect consumers."

Some of the most common scams include emails claiming to be from a bank, unsolicited messages seeking financial support, and bogus computer support. The consumer group said that some customers were avoiding certain digital services owing to the fear of scams.

In March, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe argued that automatic full refunds from banks to scam victims created a danger of some consumers becoming lax over internet security. His comments were branded as "astonishingly misjudged" by Which?.

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