New York is suing one of America’s biggest banks for allegedly implementing weak security measures, deceiving customers about their rights and refusing to reimburse fraud victims as mandated by law.
New York Attorney General Letitia James says her office has decided to sue Citibank after the financial giant failed to protect its customers over the course of the last six years.
The AG says Citibank’s digital defenses do not respond effectively to many red flags, including:
- Unusual transfers from multiple accounts into a single account
- The use of unknown devices
- Account access from new locations
- Attempts to change online banking passwords and usernames
“As a result of Citi’s lax security, New York customers have lost millions of dollars, and in some instances, their entire life savings, to scammers and hackers.
Attorney General James is seeking to hold Citi accountable for failing to protect its customers and require the company to pay back defrauded New Yorkers with interest, pay penalties, and adopt enhanced anti-fraud defenses to prevent scammers from stealing consumers’ funds.”
The AG also finds that Citi does not conduct its own investigation on cases of fraud or report them to the proper authorities after getting customer notifications.
When the bank receives desperate calls from fraud victims, the AG also says Citi is too slow to respond effectively.
“When victims contact the bank to report fraud, Citi leaves them on lengthy telephone holds, allowing scammers to continue their fraud.”
On top of failing to protect customers from online banking scammers, the AG alleges that Citi engages in deceptive practices in an attempt to skirt the law and deny customer refunds.
“Under EFTA (Electronic Fund Transfer Act), banks such as Citi are required to reimburse their customers for money in their accounts that is lost or stolen through unauthorized electronic payments. However, Citi illegally exploited a narrow exception in these laws to deny consumer claims for reimbursement, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for New York consumers.”
James’ office is asking Citi to disgorge profits, pay a $5,000 fine for each violation of law and appoint an independent third party that will identify every customer harmed by the bank’s alleged illegal practices.
Says Attorney General James,
“Banks are supposed to be the safest place to keep money, yet Citi’s negligence has allowed scammers to steal millions of dollars from hardworking people.
Many New Yorkers rely on online banking to pay bills or save for big milestones, and if a bank cannot secure its customers’ accounts, they are failing in their most basic duty.
There is no excuse for Citi’s failure to protect and prevent millions of dollars from being stolen from customers’ accounts and my office will not write off illegal behavior from big banks.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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