With £434 per minute lost to authorised push payment (APP) scams, I’ve written to UK Finance CEO, Stephen Jones, to outline our critical steps required to halt their growth.
Dear Mr Jones,
Which?’s 2016 super-complaint called for urgent intervention to better protect consumers from bank transfer scams. The APP Scams Code of Conduct is a positive step forward, and Which? is keen to see it successfully implemented by banks following its launch next week.
Whether people are conned out of a few hundred, or many thousands of pounds, the impact of scams can be devastating.
Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated tactics that are harder to spot, and every day innocent victims continue to lose life changing sums of money through no fault of their own.
Your recent figures show that £434 every minute is lost to scams in the UK, equivalent to £625,000 every day. It remains clear that your members are best placed to identify and take measures to reduce the risk of fraud.
Through the APP Scams Steering Group, Which? has argued that an overall reduction in scams and the swift reimbursement of all victims who lose money through no fault of their own are both critical measures of the Code’s overall success.
Critical steps required for success
In addition, however, we believe that the actions set out below are also critical steps required to successfully halt the growth of APP scams:
– Banks must promise to protect their customers by signing up to the Voluntary Code as it launches on 28 May 2019, and the PSR must commit to conducting a one year review of its implementation
– Banks must implement Confirmation of Payee, which can cut scams in half, no later than its proposed new deadline of March 2020
– No blameless scam victim should ever be denied reimbursement again, and full refunds should be issued swiftly
– Banks must show they are serious about protecting consumers and immdediately publish their joint timetable to agree a long-term funding solution for no blame refunds
– Individual banks must publish scam victim and reimbursement figures of a regular basis
Banks can provide greater protections
Responsibility should be allocated to those best placed to manage the risk of fraudsters using bank accounts and payment systems to facilitate their scam.
TSB’s recent announcement to offer a full Fraud Refund Guarantee demonstrates that banks can act to provide much greater protections to their customers than will be offered through the Voluntary Code.
Given this, we urge all UK Finance members to implement the Code immediately and to begin offering significantly more comprehensive protection to their customers in-line with TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee.
Until these steps are taken, the devastating impact of bank transfer scams will continue to cause growing financial and emotional harm to UK consumers.
Anabel Hoult, Which? Chief Executive.