Elderly unknowingly jeopardising their protection from bank account hacking attacks

19 December 2016

Elderly people are increasingly and unknowingly jeopardising their right to be reimbursed for funds stolen through a hacking attack by giving their children and carers their bank details, says Wilsons, the leading private client law firm.

Wilsons explains that individuals who divulge their banking details – including online login passwords and debit card pins – to anyone else immediately lose the right to have their funds reimbursed in the case of a hacking attack, even if that person was not involved in the attack.

Wilsons notes that banks are obliged to pay back any money lost in a hacking attack, providing the account holders have not given their details to anyone.

Wilsons says the elderly are more at risk of unwittingly passing up the right to any reimbursement of stolen funds as they are more likely to give their family members and carers banking details so they can get cash out on their behalf or help manage their accounts online.

Wilsons adds that elderly individuals living in isolated, rural locations or those that have difficulty leaving the house on their own are especially vulnerable. These individuals’ mobility is likely to be limited and banks may not be in close proximity.

Alison Morris, Partner at Wilsons, comments: “Attacks on bank accounts are an increasingly common threat, and the elderly need to ensure they keep their security details safe to best protect their money.”

“We are increasingly encountering elderly individuals, who have not put in place proper power of attorney provisions, who have lost protection of their funds after a cyber-attack on their bank by having previously given their bank details to a loved one, family member, or carer.”

“The elderly need to be very careful when asking others to help with their day-to-day financial affairs to ensure they do not lose protection of their money.”

Wilsons points out that just recently in November Tesco Bank suffered a cyberattack that saw money taken from 20,000 customer accounts, costing the company approximately £2.5 million. Earlier in July 2016, NatWest and RBS online bank accounts were also hacked leaving customers unable to access their accounts.

Alison Morris continues: “Cyberattacks and hacking into bank accounts are, unfortunately, becoming much more commonplace. As a result, people need to ensure they fully understand how best to protect their money and do not unwittingly lose protection and possibly their savings.”

Wilsons adds that while giving away security details, including card pin and online banking password, would lose bank protection, account holders are still free to give individuals their account number, name, and sort code without losing protection.

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