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Consumers abandoned by justice in bank scams

In the digital and constantly hyper-connected age in which we live, fraud attempts are now the order of the day. Among the most subtle and dangerous scams there is certainly phishing, through which cybercriminals pretend to be institutions, banks or private individuals to steal information and money. A recent ruling by Court of Cassationnumber 7214 of March 13, 2023, however brought the discussion on phishing to a new level, unleashing the indignation of consumer associations.

What does the sentence n. 7214 of the Court of Cassation

Judgment number 7214 of 13 March 2023 introduced a principle which represents, for banks, a shield against claims for damages made by account holders defrauded following phishing attempts. Indeed, the ruling establishes that if a bank customer is scammed with phishing, the responsibility is his and not the credit institution.

The case

The case concerned a Poste Italiane customer who had disavowed a fraudulent transfer made to his account by a third person, a fraudster, that he had obtained his data via a fake email. Initially, in January 2020, the Court of Palermo had ordered Poste Italiane to reimburse the stolen sum, considering that PI had not taken all the appropriate security measures.

However, the sentence was overturned by the Palermo Court of Appeal and then confirmed by the Cassation. This excluded the liability of Poste Italiane. According to the supreme judges, in fact, the bank had adopted an efficient IT security system and therefore could not be held responsible for the customer’s incautious conduct. According to the Cassation, the responsibility therefore lies with the scammed, who provided his data to the scammers.

Phishing: Codici’s response to the Cassation ruling

Codici, an association committed to providing legal assistance to consumers who are victims of bank fraud, also expressed its opinion on the sentence. Ivan GiacomelliNational Secretary of Codes, appealed the sentence of the Cassation as “serious” and suitable “to protect the banks”.

“The sentence of the Cassation is serious. We are not surprised, because the orientation has been clear for some time now. In fact, we look to protect institutions from claims for damages presented by defrauded account holders rather than defending the latter. Not only that, the burden of proof is also placed on the victim”, Giacomelli declared.

Giacomelli, in his statement, revealed the need for greater protection against increasingly skilled scammers. Here are his words:

“The use of home banking has grown considerably in recent years, but it is often a forced choice, for example dictated by the closure of the branch. Faced with this situation, we should go out to meet consumers, protect them even more strongly from scams, not leave them alone and defenceless. Undoubtedly an effort is needed to improve financial education, which is now essential to have a minimum level of protection, but the general context cannot be ignored. We cannot fail to take into account the ability of the criminals, unloading all responsibility on the consumer to save the banks. We hope for a change of course in this sense. In the meantime, we invite consumers to be very careful, to be wary of messages or calls that warn of cyber attacks on their account. In these situations, it is advisable to remain calm and contact your institution, so as to verify the validity of the report received and possibly act accordingly. And of course we must not be discouraged in the face of sentences such as that of the Cassation. You have to fight to assert your rights and that’s what we will continue to do, protecting consumers”.

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.