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Banks told to “improve” scam safeguards

Banks, regulators and the next government must act quickly to tackle fraud or consumers will be left to pay the price, according to consumer group Which?

Amber Ainsley   Pritchard

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Amber Ainsley   Pritchard
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Which? is today (May 16) calling on banks to outline what actions they are taking to safeguard customers from bank transfer scams following the industry’s “clear lack of improvements”.


The consumer group said banks are still leaving customers exposed when it comes to these scams - five months after the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) found evidence they could be doing more.


Following a super-complaint made by Which? last year the PSR found:

  • The way banks respond to scams needs to improve
  • The data on bank transfer scams was of poor quality
  • Evidence suggests more could be done to identify fraudulent incoming payments and prevent accounts from being under the influence of scammers

Which? carried out an online poll with research agency Populus that surveyed around 2,000 UK adults at the beginning of May this year.


The results found that eight percent of people in the UK had made a bank transfer, or knew someone that had made a payment, that later turned out to be to a fraudster.


Of those people who had lost money from bank transfer scams, more than half (54 percent) had been victims in the last six months.


Nearly 40 percent of people who have been a victim of this type of scam said they didn’t get any money back at all.


The research found that 80 percent of people think banks should be responsible for recouping money lost to bank transfer scams.


It also found more than 30 percent of consumers said tackling fraud and scams must be a top priority for the next government.


Last week Barclays announced a new initiative to help fight increasing levels of fraud by enabling customers to “turn on and off” their cards.


In April this year Which? published a Consumer Agenda for Government that urges the next government to set out an ambitious plan to ​ensure that financial institutions do more to protect ​consumers from ​bank ​transfer scams.


Gareth Shaw, money expert at Which?, said: “Despite the fact that consumers are still losing life-changing sums of money to fraudsters it’s not clear what meaningful action the banks have taken to protect their customers.


“People assume that banks will look after them and their money. So it’s vital that the industry, regulator and next Government act quickly and decisively to tackle financial fraud. Failure to do so will continue to leave consumers paying the price.”


Next month Credit Strategy magazine will include a feature focussed on cyber security and fraud challenges in origination as well as collections.

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