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Saga attacks Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe's comments on online fraud victims

Saga has joined condemnation of a police chief who said banks should consider not refunding online fraud victims.

The Folkestone over-50s holidays and insurance company reacted after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe reportedly said that repayment “rewards” people for being lax about internet security.

But Paul Green, director of communication for Saga in Enbrook Park, Sandgate, said: “Blaming the victims of crime is no way for anyone to behave let alone the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Saga has made around 100 of its employees redundant
Saga has made around 100 of its employees redundant

“Keeping up with scams is almost a full-time job.

“Society expects banks and the police to be able to keep us safe form this type of crime - if they’re unable to keep up with the ever sophisticated nature of this fraud, what chance to the rest of us have?

“This is a particular problem for older people that could result in them feeling digitally isolated for fear of becoming a victim and then being blamed by those who they expect to protect them.”

Sir Bernard had told a national newspaper that if people were continually “rewarded for bad behaviour” they would carry on with it but would change if the opposite was true.

Fore instance someone would update their software if they were told they would refunded half the money they lost if they didn’t.

Banks and card suppliers refund customer who are victims unless they have proven to be grossly negligent.

But Sir Bernard argued that the system was not giving people incentives to protect themselves.

He believes that customers should guard against cybercrime with basic precautions such as adequate passwords.

The consumer group Which? also described the police chief’s remarks as “astonishingly misguided” when online fraud was increasing.

The organisation said that it had found that too often banks were “dragging their feet” when dealing with fraud. It said that the priority should be for banks to better protect customers, rather than trying to blame victims.

Victim Support that those who have fallen for a scam do not come forward because they feel too ashamed or embarrassed and the police chief’s comments may make more stay silent.

Losses due to internet banking fraud in the UK rose by 64% in 2015 compared with a year earlier, to £133.5m.

The Metropolitan Police insisted that the Commissioner was not trying to blame victims.

But he did also want banks to invest more in their security systems as car manufacturers have successfully done to prevent theft.

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