/ Money

Update: Do you support our super-complaint on scams?

Bank transfer scams

Imagine this: You’ve had some building work done on your house and you’re arranging to pay the builder. Then you receive an email from your builder informing you that their bank account details have changed…

You transfer the money to them.

Later on, you find out the email was from a fraudster.

They had made their email virtually identical to the ones that you’d received from the builders before. You’ve been scammed – and you’ve got no right to get your money back from your bank.

Bank transfer scams super-complaint

Which? is using its legal powers to make a super-complaint to one of the financial regulators – the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR). We think banks need to do more to protect customers who are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster.

Some people might well think ‘that’ll never happen to me!’ They might say that people who are scammed should simply get better at protecting themselves.

But it’s an issue that comes up time and time again, with some people getting conned out of their life savings.

You only have to read the harrowing real life stories in our super-complaint to realise that these scams are often so sophisticated that it’s impossible for people to be savvy enough to completely protect themselves. And the people being scammed are not only the stereotypical vulnerable groups; they are often financially and technologically literate.

When we asked over 1,000 members of the public if they could spot the difference between real and spoof emails, we found that 50% of people were fooled by these sophisticated scams. Ultimately, people can only protect themselves so far, and with scams on the rise, we all need greater protection.

So what do we want?

Which? thinks banks should shoulder more responsibility for money lost to bank transfer scams. It’s unfair that customers who lose money due to scams via direct debit or credit and debit cards are reimbursed, for example, but not bank transfers. This would give banks an incentive to develop better mechanisms to prevent the fraud in the first place.


Update: 12 October

Alex Neill, our Director of Home and Legal Services, appeared on Rip Off Britain this morning (12 October) to talk about what action is needed to protect us all from scams.

After hearing the tragic tale of a scam victim who was tricked into transferring £77,000 to scammers posing as solicitors, Alex explained how banks can and must go beyond just protecting themselves from paying out against scams.

Banks already protect their customers for credit and debit card fraud, but there’s clearly need for them to improve their security processes to protect their customers from bank transfer scams.

That’s why we’ve made our super-complaint to the Payment Systems Regulator [PSR] . If you were tricked into transferring money from your account to a scammers’ account then you have no legal right to get you money back from your bank.

The PSR now has 70 days remaining to respond to our super-complaint.

Clearly, this is a complex issue. This is why we need financial regulators – not just the PSR but also the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – to work together and address our concerns.

What would you like to see the regulators do to help prevent fraud?

James says:
21 November 2018

Jimmy Magee
9 hrs ·
Been robbed

Went to transfer money from rbs account to my sons when my sons
Name came in I finalized the transaction but money was transferred to another account. I have never heard this name let alone put it in my transfer list. Then phoned the bank to be told that a card reader was used to add this persons account to my transfer list from my ip address all in the few seconds to finalize. So double check and wait till you see were your money goes.

(Edited by moderators: We have edited your comment as it was all written in capital letters. Please read our commenting guidelines for more information)

WELL IAN -WELL WHICH? you both know what I am talking about if both of you don’t come on and criticise this poster for “shouting ” then I will be seriously annoyed .
I have cut down on capitals but if Which ? doesn’t do something about this after emailing me about it ( I have it archived ) then I want a retraction from Which ? AND Ian.

Tried reporting this but your reporting webpage doesn’t work.
I have screenshot the post .

Thank you moderators -appreciated .

Jack says:
14 January 2019

I am constantly being inundated with texts and calls from ‘Capital One’.
Despite reporting calls this has persisted. Really frustrating nothing can be done. In the law of averages scammers must be making loads from this.

There is certainly something you can do Jack and that’s report them if they are genuinely “Capital One ” unless you have had previous dealings with them or their subsidiaries or visited their website and contacted them .
Big USA “investment” company with a branch here . The US Federal Authorities are no fools -quote-
Investment and Insurance Products Are:
Not Insured By The FDIC
Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency
Not A Deposit Or Other Obligation Of, Or Guaranteed By, The Bank
Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss Of The Principal Amount Invested

They are “financial speculators ” Americans have a word for them but I cant post it.
Parent company-Capital One Financial Corporation.

Eric Donkin says:
19 January 2019

The latest attempted phone scam, a robotic voice states when answering the phone ” HMRC have issued an arrest warrant for you for tax fraud, please press # to continue”
at which point I hung up (after perhaps making a pithy comment) I then 1471’ed to get 02181467484 which of course when dialed you are informed “the number you have dialed has not been recognized” all a real pain in the butt and needs dealing with

I was called today by the HMRC scammers – I didn’t pick up, but the answerphone said ‘call 2086386353 to avoid prosecution’. It was an American, and the terminology used in the message indicated that it was appropriate only for an American audience.

Keith says:
31 January 2019

Sat in the Hospital waiting room today awaiting an appointment email came through from HMRC telling me I had a £499 tax refund , I think you know the rest , I deleted it Straight Away.

DerekP says:
31 January 2019

Keith, good to hear you weren’t fooled by that email.

Yesterday I sent some time assisting a lady who had received and responded to a scam email about PPI refunds. She’d actually responded to the email and had then been called from a fake 0800 number, 0800 0472410. From the flow of personal and financial details that she was being asked to provide, she eventually realised that it was a scam. Hence she’d contacted all her banks and then set out to also report it via the Action Fraud website.

As someone not highly expert in internet use, she found the Action Fraud website hard to use, and even with my help, we didn’t manage to finish a report submission in the time we had available. Somehow, the scammer had seemingly also managed to delete the original email and her reply, so I was unable to grab those for further forensic analysis.

We were more successful in flagging up the fake 0800 number as “dangerous” on a couple of “who called me?” websites.

Hi Derek – I would be interested to know if you were just helping someone with a problem or if you are doing this on a regular basis. I have a relation who works two days a week for Citizens Advice.

DerekP says:
20 February 2019

wavechange – each week, I spend two afternoons volunteering as a “computer buddy” in my local library. Basically, we’re they’re to help folk use computers, either shared library ones or their own portable devices, if they bring them it.

As we’ve often discussed on these pages, these days many things can be done online or must be done online, so we’re they to help folk (“like Daniel Blake”) navigate these systems.

Thanks Derek. I now remember you mentioned being a computer buddy before. I suppose we have moved on from basic computer use to look at the risks and deal with problems associated with computer use.

That is amazing! Just think of the number of people’s lives you have made a huge difference to.

Jacquie B says:
9 February 2019

Telephone call, with an American accent advising that BT are going to disconnect our telephone and broadband connection

Charles says:
16 February 2019

I’ve had the same call 5 days per week over the last 5/6 weeks – we just hang up but annoying nevertheless.

Getting multiple calls daily threatening to disconnect internet (BT) would be very easy for these scammers to obtain bank details of vulnerable people! I always press the option to disconnect internet for fun………oddly with no result 🙈🙉🙊

jcames Marsh says:
21 February 2019

Getting calls saying its a BT text to call them regarding my broadband being disconnected that day. Has happened around 6 times now I called BT who said they would never call me to tell me about that and told me to use the 1573 block all calls from that number and have blocked it everytime they call now. But BT said its waste of time as they go on to different numbers and it wont stop calls from these people. Its time something was done about this by either the government or the Police or even BT

We use to get bogus talk talk calls saying we had trouble with our computer, till we bought a call blocker, now life is peaceful till the next scam some one comes a long with.

John Richard Wood says:
21 February 2019

Recently we have received a plethora of calls, mostly pre-recorded messages, purporting to be from BT. These messages threaten to ‘terminate our Broadband Service immediately unless we Press 1’ !
When we contacted BT we were told that they were aware of these current Scam attempts. Their advice was to ‘key in’ 1572 and that would block further calls from these UK Nos.
So far, so good !

Ken Bloom says:
22 February 2019

Yesterday I received a call from the trading services in London advising me that I had received a payment from the banks that they wished to deliver but this would require a payment of £150.00.In conjunction with The Royal Mail this would be delivered today.As the amount payable was very but my suspicions increased when they informed me that I could post the cash,no cheques and the use of a card was difficult they preferred me to pay by google vouchers which l could purchase from Sainsbury’s or the cooperative w 4-15stores.Atthispoint I told them that I thought it was a yscam it is now 4-15 pm and no sign of visitors or delivery.
All this just days after the success of the Which campaigns success about banks being ordered to pay had been circulated on the web. Be aware

Robert says:
25 February 2019

Have received a very authentic looking e-mail communication allegedly from TV Licensing advising that I must renew my license before it expires in two days time and telling me to click a box that says 'Visit TV Licensing Official Website Now'. To a person not familiar with such scams, they could easily have clicked on the links which I have of course refrained from doing. First of all the e-mail was addressed to one of my business e-mail addresses and secondly was sent from the following e-mail address: [email has been removed by moderator]. These people must be stopped, caught and made examples of and the punishments so severe that others will think twice before embarking on such activities,

Richard says:
26 February 2019

We’ve been having the scam BT Broadband termination calls. Several a day, hoping you’ll think it’s the Doctor or someone important! Somewhat give themselves away by using the same recording! But the annoying thing is that although the phone shows unavailable (that’s illegal isn’t it?) BT excellent ‘Call Protect’ gives a number. This number keeps changing, presumably to avoid getting blacklisted. Today on checking the latest number it is an actual real one. So, if I decided to ring back some poor innocent soul could get a mouthful. I won’t, obviously.
As the real number is not geographically the same as the scammer’s location, why can’t the telcos automatically block them?

We regularly get phone calls with a recorded message saying our computer network has been compromised and we need to turn it on immediately and talk to someone. We obviously ignore it but it’s a pain.

Julie bowman says:
3 March 2019

Have had hoax bt calls.last one from supposed Indian call center. Contacted bt not much help. Had to get computer firm to reset system as internet connection would not accept usual passwords.

Anthony Bricknell says:
5 March 2019

We receive the BT scam at least 3 times a day, the last one today was at 4.30am

Anthony. says:
18 April 2019

Yes BT phones amd Internet scams – we are cutting you off if you do not press no 1 – whatever scams. Both femail and male voices on Automated messages many times. We try and block as many calls as possible. Apat from dead calls no one onthe line which are anoying having gone to the land line to pick up for no reason etc.