It seems that ‘scams’ of all sorts are constantly in the news and that they grow in complexity and sophistication all the time. With one of the more sophisticated scams, ‘authorised push payments’, victims have been blamed for their own loss by the banks. This isn’t a minor issue; victims lost a total of around £236 million to these push payment scams in 2017 alone. It is estimated that around £1 billion has been lost in this way since 2014. In many cases, banks have refused compensation to victims due to the victim’s ‘negligence’ in having authorised the payments. Individual victims have lost an average of £3,000 each to these scams.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), which is the main arbiter of complaints about products and services in the UK’s financial services market, has instructed banks to provide customers with better protection in the form of the introduction of round the clock fraud detection lines and enhanced response times.
Authorised Push Payment fraud is, in simple terms, a fraudster persuading a victim to transfer funds out of their own account and into one which the fraudster has access to.
Examples cited include victims who responded to ‘phone calls or e mails purporting to come from their banks by giving an authorisation code to ‘check security’, fraudulent payment requests from someone representing themselves as the victim’s conveyancer and asking for payment of a deposit etc. etc.
Proposed new rules start to come into effect this month.
Relevant bodies have produced a website – www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk which explains how to protect yourself against this type of fraud and includes a useful video and self-test.