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What you told us about your scam experiences

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The Which? scams story reporting tool has been running for little over two weeks. With well over 30,000 people contacting us, it’s clear there are many more still to come. Have you got a scam story to share?

It can be a harrowing experience getting caught out by a scam. Often it leaves victims unable to speak to friends and family about it and unable to come forward and report the crime – in fact only 5% of all fraud in the UK is reported to the police. This is one of the key reasons why understanding the true scale of scams and the impact it has on victims is a big challenge.

So you could say that the response we’ve had since launching our online scams story reporting tool. We weren’t expecting so many people from every corner of the UK to tell us their views and experiences of losing money in a bank transfer scam.

What you told us

We’ve heard about incredibly sophisticated scams, where consumers couldn’t have ever been expected to know they were being targeted by criminals.

More than 650 people have told us about losing over £5.5m to bank transfer scams, with most people losing on average £1,200. Nearly half of those (48%) who said they had suffered a bank transfer scam have been unable to recover any money.

But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg, the tool has only be running for a little over three weeks now.

We heard stories of how some people had made purchases for goods and services online – in good faith – that never turned up.

Others lost thousands of pounds thinking that they were paying a legitimate invoice for contracted work to their home and others had lost their dream of owning their own home when transferring their savings to what they though was their solicitor and not realising the bank details had been tampered with.

A high number of individuals had been convinced into moving their life savings into a ‘safe account’ to protect their money, when in fact criminals had phoned the victim and posed as the bank’s fraud team.

It’s not surprising then that many people told us that they were now fearful of making online payments and that they had lost faith that the system would protect them.

What’s next?

We’ve submitted your stories to the financial regulators as they’re keen to hear directly from consumers as they investigate the problem of bank transfer fraud.

We hope that your personal experiences help the regulators to take meaningful action to protect all consumers from this growing crime.

We’re keeping the scams story sharing tool live until the end of the year, if you have something to share then you can share it with us here.

So tell us, what would you like the regulators to do to take action on scams?


Get the telecoms companies to disconnect telephone calls immediately one party tries to end a phone call.

This would put a stop to scammers still being on the line when victims think they are calling their banks.

BT already does this, terminating a call, even if the initiator try’s to keep the line open. Looks like it’s between 2s and 10s, as opposed to the 2-3 minutes that it used to be.


I suspect the really worrying aspect of the entire Scam field these days is that Scams have become extremely subtle and – probably of most concern – are increasingly using bank insiders to facilitate their success.

If fraud was properly investigated, insiders might actually get caught as patterns emerge.

I suspect the banks often don’t prosecute to avoid the bad publicity.

Which is better, the public suspecting insider fraud, or hearing the bank has uncovered dodgy staff and dealt with them?

Openness and bad publicity might even earn them more respect in the long run.

We cannot have openness for commercial confidentiality reasons. I well remember how long it took for banks to admit that it was possible for money to disappear from customers’ accounts without them withdrawing it.

I value honesty in the commercial world.

Make the receiving bank of fraud responsible for instigating a fraud enquiry, and make the police carry out a proper investigation.

Money from fraud has gone somewhere. It needs to be recovered and scammers prosecuted. In many cases of fraud, the banks and police seem to be doing absolutely nothing so victims have no chance of recovering their money.

When you suspect you are talking to a scammer on the phone, you should be able to dial a number that either listens to or records your conversation and at the same time traces the call.

We need to stop scammers and it is time more tools were put in place to give us the power to feel we can make a difference.

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We need that facility here as well Duncan. How does it work in the US and why does it cost?

There is a ‘Record’ button on my handset which I can press to record the conversation during a call. BT4600 Advanced Call Blocker phone and answer machine [twin digital electronic cordless telephone (DECT)]. John Lewis price today £51.99.

Call tracing can only be done by the telecom service provider, of course, but discovering a call comes from somewhere in Asia doesn’t get us much further forward so that is probably not a priority.

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“Action Fraud” who people get referred to are actually a call centre run by Concentrix – the private US company recently sacked by the govt. for the mess they made of tax credits. No faith in them!

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I have just tried to report a suspicious cashpoint with eventual success.

My other half went to an HSBC cashpoint earlier, inserted card, keyed in 2 digits of pin and was asked ‘how much do you want?’ Cancelled transaction, tried again and the same thing happened, so cancelled again. Seemed odd, but also odd was the machine wanted the card in the wide horizontal position, definitely different to the last time it was used.

Called First Direct who said nothing to worry about. At least we are covered if fraud is committed.

Went on HSBC live chat who first said thank you for reporting, but could not do anything with the information, but thought it sounded worth checking and gave me a number to call.

Phoned the number that wanted my account number,etc (wrong bank). If you are not a customer key any number on the next menu which turned out to be help, went through all the help then it started at the beginning again asking for an account number, so ignored the next menu and eventually got through to a human.

The cashpoint is now reported as being suspicious and hopefully will get checked out.

Why is it so difficult to contact anyone? Banks don’t make life easy for us.

Keep an eye on your account balance, Alfa. The fact that you have reported the machine means that you are in a better position to claim a refund if money disappears.

We will wavechange. If I can be bothered, I might go and have a closer look at the cashpoint later.


A better article on the techniques required. So encouraging to know that Visa has been so careful in protecting card users by tough security. Perhaps a chat with Mastercard is required.

” Research published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, shows how the so-called Distributed Guessing Attack is able to circumvent all the security features put in place to protect online payments from fraud.
Exposing the flaws in the VISA payment system, the team from Newcastle University, UK, found neither the network nor the banks were able to detect attackers making multiple, invalid attempts to get payment card data.”

Last month, I had a well known insurance company debited my credit card account for an annual car policy. I had not requested this policy nor done any business with them ever. How did they get my card details and why is this not a crime?

Peter Harris says:
20 June 2017

I probably reported my problem before but as it keeps occurring I’ll mention it again.
I receive emails that identify the sender as a Canadian bank and claims I have an account with them which they believe is being scammed, and giving a link to click on to in order to verify my ID. I am reluctant to do this, mainly because I have never held an account overseas, and I doubt whether I would qualify for one having read up on the rules for such an account outside Canada. Have tried to send an email myself but is undeliverable. Do you think someone could have hacked in to my email account and is using my address? Even the Canadian government agency dealing with tax have sent an email saying I am due for a refund!