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Banks have been warned that it’s “not fair” to automatically blame customers for money lost through a scam. Last year, customers transferred nearly £240m to fraudsters, only a quarter of which was refunded by financial firms.

The Financial Ombudsman service said fraudsters’ growing sophistication meant it was wrong to assume losses were due to customer carelessness.

The service, which resolves customer disputes, said victims who lost money had a good chance of being reimbursed.

“It’s not fair to automatically call a customer grossly negligent simply because they’ve fallen for a scam.

“That’s especially true in light of the sophisticated way criminals exploit banks’ security systems – and convince customers that their money is at risk,” said Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

She said when a customer had fallen for a fraud or a scam, typically both they and the bank denied they had done anything wrong.

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