Fraud victims lose £28,000 to bank transfer scams every hour
Only about £2 out of £5 lost to convincing scams is refunded, Which? found, with victims forced to swallow £495million in losses, which equates to losing £4.7million a week, or £677,000 a day.
The group’s Rocio Concha said banks should reimburse victims more in cases where they had done nothing wrong, saying existing rules on reimbursements were “unfair” and applied “inconsistently”.
These scammers trick victims into pretending to be someone else in need. Examples include:
- Scammers posing as police officers need help with criminal investigations
- Family members, such as children needing money abroad
- Employers or creditors requesting that payments be redirected to different accounts
- Love interests online claiming they need money.
The downsides are often elaborate, long-lasting, and involve life-changing sums of money. These fraud losses increased by 71% in the first half of 2021, exceeding the amount of money stolen by card fraud for the first time.
Basically, because the victims are made to take an active role in the fraud, it is much more difficult for them to recover their money than for other types of financial crimes, such as cases of bank account hacking or theft of credit card. .
This means that banks and financial institutions can more easily deny compensation and claim customer negligence.
A voluntary code of conduct on fraudulent refunds, introduced in 2019, forces banks to pay where they could have done more to prevent crime. However, not all providers are registered and many have been found to wrongly withhold payments.
The wire transfer watchdog, the payments system regulator, said in December it wanted to make refunds for innocent victims compulsory, with the Treasury pledging to legislate new rules “as soon as possible. “.
Ms Concha said it was “vital” that the laws were passed as soon as possible.