Digital payments exploded with the coronavirus pandemic, when even paying in cash could be an agent of contagion for Covid-19. With this exponential increase, bad practices and claims for cases of fraud and scams in card payments and electronic transfers have also skyrocketed. In 2022 alone, the number doubled compared to the previous year, reaching 10,361, as stated in the Claims Report 2022 presented this Friday by the Bank of Spain.
These are cases in which citizens do not acknowledge having given their authorization to certain operations or claim to have carried them out as victims of deception (fraud, scam, etc.). “We also see phishing, smishingmessages that arrive on the mobile phone and seem to be from our entity but they are not…”, he explained Alberto Rios, general director of Financial Conduct and Banknotes. The majority of these complaints correspond to card operations, which account for 86.1% of the total, compared to the 13.9% that arise from transfers via the internet.
Its rise is related to a “growing digitalization in payment services”, according to Alberto Ríos, as well as a sophistication of procedures.
Cases involving “allegedly fraudulent” payment transactions are the most complained about matter for the second consecutive year and now account for almost a third of the total complaints received; specifically, 30.3% of the total of 34,146 complaints received by the supervisor. However, at the Bank of Spain they call for caution when evaluating the figures. “In relative numbers – compared to the total digital payments that are registered – it cannot be said that we have a systemic problem with payments,” Ríos pointed out. In 2022 7,390 million were made of card transactions through POS.
The regulator’s forecasts, based on the evolution of the claims that they have been observing since the beginning of 2023, are that the growth trend will stabilize and “will hardly exceed” this year’s figure.