Card's owner contributed to loss from theft

Categories:
Cards and PINs
Summary:
Ana’s wallet, containing her eftpos card, was stolen. She suspected the thief had removed her wallet from her car when she got out to open the gates to her workplace.

The thief withdrew $7,000 from her account using ATMs and a foreign exchange outlet.

Ana reported the theft to police and made a formal statement. She was shown photographs of a man using her card, but she did not know him.

The foreign exchange outlet told police it was still holding $4,000 of Ana’s money. It had asked the thief to produce identification before giving him the cash. He left to get identification, but didn’t return. The return of this money reduced her loss to $3,000.

The bank recognised that Ana was the victim of a crime, and offered to bear half of the loss she had suffered, or $1,500.

Our investigation

Ana complained to us that the bank should bear the full $3,000 loss because it was not her fault she had been defrauded. We looked at whether Ana had complied with her eftpos card's terms and conditions, and whether the bank had contributed to her financial loss. The terms and conditions said she must not leave her card “in an unattended wallet, purse or vehicle or anywhere a thief could remove the card without being noticed”.

We considered she had not complied with this condition because she had left the card in an unattended car where someone could remove it unnoticed.

In addition, the offender had been able to enter Ana’s PIN correctly on the first attempt, suggesting Ana hadn't taken sufficient care of her PIN. To select the correct numbers at random and enter them in the right order is all but impossible.

Furthermore, we did not consider the bank had contributed in any way to Ana’s loss.

Outcome

We recommended Ana accept the bank's offer, which she did.

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