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KBC Bank ordered to refund victims of online phishing fraud

09:41 14/06/2021

KBC bank has been ordered to refund a total of €32,000 in two cases in which customers of the bank were victims of online fraud. The decision handed down by judges in Belgium sets a legal precedent for the loss of money in the event of so-called phishing or phishing fraud.

A 2018 piece of legislation states that customers should be compensated in these situations, but banks often try to circumvent it, according to Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws in a report based on figures from the banking mediation service which was published on Monday.

According to the report, banks often try to avoid paying out compensation by blaming customers for negligence: if it can be shown that the customer could have seen the fraud, then the bank does not have to repay the lost amounts. In the two court cases, KBC was shown to have attempted this, but the judges disagreed that the fraud could have been avoided by the customers. The bank has appealed the decision.

This is not an unusual stance. Last year, the Ombudsman for Financial Disputes, Ombudsfin, noted that banks often disagreed with the final verdict, only if the decision went against them. "In many cases where customers demand financial compensation, the bank does not follow our advice," the mediation service stated. “(This court decision) is striking and we've never experienced this before."

When contacted by Het Laatste Nieuws, KBC denied that it systematically accuses phishing victims of negligence.

Written by Nick Amies