Bank transfer scams: call for better customer protection

Almost one in 10 bank customers have either made a transfer payment to a fraudster or know someone who has.

Banks and building societies must offer greater protection to customers who are tricked into sending money to a fraudster’s account, Which? has said.

Bank transfer scams generally involve criminals pretending to be from a legitimate business and pressuring victims into sending money for an ‘overdue bill’.

At present, victims have no legal right to reclaim lost funds from their bank or building society.

Worryingly, a survey by Which? revealed that only four in 10 of us are aware of this fact.

The survey also found that 9% of banking customers have either transferred money into a fraudster’s account themselves, or know someone who has.

A growing problem

With the number of people making bank transfers rising each year, more and more people are at risk of being left out of pocket.

Which? has now filed a super-complaint with financial regulators, calling on them to ensure banks protect victims – just like they do for those who are scammed when using debit or credit cards.

“People cannot be expected to detect complex scams pressuring them to transfer money immediately or lookalike bills from their solicitor or builder,” it said in a release.

“Banks have developed and invested in security checks and systems to detect and prevent fraud where they are liable to reimburse the victim, for example for credit card scams.

“However there aren’t sufficient checks if someone is tricked into transferring money directly to another person’s account.”

As part of the super-complaint, it has called on regulators to:

  • formally investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud and how much it is costing customers;
  • take action and propose new measures and greater liability for banks to ensure customers are better protected when they have been tricked into making a bank transfer.

Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which?, said: “We all now regularly use bank transfers to pay for things, but what most of us don’t realise is that if you’re conned into paying out money to a fraudster you stand to lose all of your money, unlike when you use your credit or debit card.

“With scams on the rise, consumers can only protect themselves so far and we believe that banks must do more to tackle bank transfer fraud and safeguard their customers from scams.”

Don’t fall victim to fraud

Ealier this week, a separate report flagged up how financial fraud was soaring in the UK.

According to fraud body Financial Fraud Action (FFA), there were more than a million cases between January and June this year, with someone falling victim on average every 15 seconds.

To help you avoid becoming another statistic, FFA has provided five simple tips.

1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details.

2. Never assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are.

3. Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think.

4. Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question what’s happening.

5. Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.

Check your credit report for signs of suspicious activity

Read about the latest fraud trends:

How scammers are changing their tactics

Warning over phishing email that includes your home address

Twitter bank fraud: how to stay safe


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