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Fraud Victims

Who Said Fraud Victims are “Grossly Negligent”?

Here’s an indisputable fact: Online frauds are as sophisticated as they have ever been right now.

The recent degeneration of regulatory compliance in the UK banking system is at best out of the public eye and at worst an elephant in the room. Out-of-touch, merciless, and shallow approach would not lead to an appropriate solution, not in any way. Before it’s too late, the Consumer Rights Act needs an update -asubstantial one. 

Had banks and regulators looked at the wider circumstances surrounding the fraudulent transactions of most victims (who couldn’t but fall prey to multilayered, perfectly orchestrated scams), they would have realized how easily they themselves could have been fooled by those sneaky swindlers.

What’s shocking to me is twofold: their utter incompetence to begin with, but more so — how shamelessly banks and regulators make the claim that the fraud victim was “grossly negligent”. It is too convenient for them to simply hide behind this formless, vaguely defined term. At lowest, this response itself is a by-product of gross negligence, whatever that means. In the first place, it is deeply irresponsible to shoulder the responsibility to the victim, whose cyber power is not even near 1/10 of the bank’s, and then, in the second place, manipulatively using a word subject to an infinite number of interpretations to portray the victim in a bad light, while making themselves look virtuous and excellent (Spoiler: they are not).

It isn’t at all clear what “gross negligence” even means, or what are the particular criteria for that. Whilst scammers increasingly utilize the most technologically-advanced tools and resources available, to viciously manipulate, defraud and take pensions and life-savings of elderly, computer illiterates individuals — it is beyond evil to offload any and all responsibility, without showing even a crumb of goodwill towards the victim, who at their mercy.

And it’s not only old people who suffer. We are all living in the digital sphere, and as such, subject to fraud, abuse, and leaks of confidential and private data—all of which may result not only in financial losses, but also in psychological trauma, constant stress, depression, and anxiety associated with this enormous loss. These risks skip no one. Of course, education and prevention should be emphasized and be at the forefront. However, it has nothing to do with the fact that the bankers are taking advantage of their privileged position through virtue-signaling and blame-assigning.

There are some situations, where banks should have raised the red flags in a timely manner, despite the absence of a very fundamental “beneficiary name” on the victim’s statements, which, in and of itself, not only shows the superficial due diligence banks conduct but also how lazy and careless they are when it comes to safeguarding their clients’ financial interest. The minimum cross-examinations possible, the lack of education, and the reactive approach have opened the door for embarrassing excuses and readily-available defense mechanisms, upon which those gentlemen predicate their anti-consumer mindset, within the confines of political correctness.

With very small number of banks doing a remarkable job, the majority of institutions, unfortunately, have rather sought loopholes in policies and regulatory frameworks that have the potential to cover their incompetence. Evidently a failure to admit a procedural defect, put aside their utter dishonesty and lack of transparency with respect to their true cyber-capacity, big data analytics, and various other monitoring technologies (including outsourced).

Make no mistake about it: Bankers should, and can, seek to monitor transactions that take place online in real-time to identify issues or irregularities in the digital payment sphere. Any outlier shall be relayed to their relevant investigators to analyze and determine if fraudulent activity has taken place. This allows the timely identification of potential threats to financial security and minimization of the risks and costs associated with misappropriated funds, data breaches, money laundering and financing of terrorism.

As unfortunate as it is, in the world we’re living in— banks, at least in the foreseeable future, will continue to adhere to absurd technicalities rather than striving for substantial justice. 

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