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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I recieved a text message from my bank saying they had sent

Resolved Question:

I recieved a text message from my bank saying they had sent me an OTP without any explanation of what an OPT was. Is this message legally binding?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

One Time Password?

Is it legally binding in what respect? May we have the detailed background please

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I gave been the victim of a fraud Santander had sent me a text stating the the text was a OTR I did not understand what an OTR was. I am taking them to the Ombudsman nowhere in the text does it explain what an OTR is. If it was that important then why not write One Time Password. I am 61 and not familiar with the abrieviation at all. They say they text is all they need to make me responsible for the fraud. Do my question is , is just putting OTR legal and binding. I have asked people what it is and they cannot answer. Google it and it says it's a One Time Relationship ???
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry I meant One True Pairing ... This is the official e.slang meaning of OTP
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
My misspelling it is OTP
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Well, if the bank lost you, they have also lost me. I haven’t got a clue what’s happened here. Could you please explain exactly what’s happened as though I am an idiot. I have never even heard of the phrase. I googled it and that didn’t enlighten me either.

I need to know exactly what’s happened and why you got the text and indeed, did the text come from the bank.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
A fraudster called me as if from Santander Fraud department saying they had a payment to process for £5,800 had i authorised this I said no.
He then said he had to put my account on hold and would go through some security questions.I asked him for ID that he was indeed from Santander, he then went on to tell me of transactions and current, Isa and investment accounts I have with them. He also said he would make a call to my mobile from the help desk number on the back of my card. The call came through to my phone with the call desk number showing on the phone.
We then went through the process where they ask you for three items from a gem item password. I offered them this alone, bearing in mind Santander security will also ask the same I did not see a problem.
Little did I know but the scammer was now into my account and was processing payments, apparently he had spoofed Santanders help desk number on his VoIP phone system.
We now come to the crunch... This is new to me but when you process a large payment request Santander will send this message to your moble.
THIS OTP IS TO MAKE A NEW PAYMENT FOR £5,800 TO ACCOUNT ENDING 0414. Don't share this code with anyone. Call immediately if you didn't request this G4s93xau
Because I thought I was on the phone to the bank remember, he said he had sent this through to me to verify and they needed the reference to cancel it. All the time it was actually Santander sending the text while the scammer was on the phone making the payment.
Yes I know I should not have given him the number but at the time under massive pressure thinking I was dealing with the bank and honestly I did not know what a OTP was.
I am arguing that it would have been better and more understandable to put the whole term not some acronym Nobody understands. They are saying the text is me agreeing and that's enough. I gave asked for a letter of deadlock and I will go to the ombudsman.
The actual whole story is even longer than this. I have been scammed for a total of £15,300 ... Ouch !
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Thank you. It’s no wonder then that I didn’t know what it was because it’s obviously a system unique to Santander. Presumably you have reported to the police and you have a crime number which you have passed to Santander.

It seems that the Santander system is less than adequate otherwise the telephone would not have come through from the scammer with the Santander system on.

What I can’t understand is that you got a call asking whether the you would authorise this payment. You then have this message to make a new payment and that’s what I can’t understand if you said you had authorised the payment.

I can’t see why they need authorisation to cancel something when all they need to do with their not happy with it is simply put it on hold. I think that’s where you have fallen down.

Even if they had sent the complete title rather than this stupid acronym I can’t see that it would have made any difference in your case.

What the bank are saying of course is that from their point of view you had asked for a transfer (the scammer had), they sent you an authorisation code and then you decided to give the authorisation code away to the scammer and hence, they could not possibly know that it was not you giving the code.

The moral of course is not to deal with anything over the phone although this one is obviously particularly clever and clearly they have some technology behind them.

In order to succeed either with the Ombudsman in the civil court you don’t have to prove that the bank were negligent in some way.

If someone hacked into your account without you having any involvement, they would have to do reimburse you.

It is the fact that they sent you this code and gave the code to a third party which is the problem. The acronym or even a full explanation of what the acronym was I don’t think is the central issue here.

It is likely that the ombudsman will say that this was between you and the scammer and that Santander could not have known this did not come from you. I would certainly argue the point to the end of the earth but I think it’s 50-50 chance that it will come down in your favour.

I think I would be majoring on the defective system of Santander which is clearly open to abuse, rather than the acronym. As I said earlier even if they had explained what it was, it is unlikely to have made any difference it seems. I’m sorry I can’t give you better news.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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