/ Money

PayUK must ensure that blameless scam victims are protected

The CEO of UK Finance and I have written to Pay.UK to urge it to back a vital scams reimbursement funding proposal. Here’s our letter to its chair, Ms Melanie Johnson.

Update 28/11/2019

PayUK has now rejected the proposal that we set out last month in the letter below.

However, the industry trade body has now announced a three month extension to the current scheme funded by the major banks. The scheme will be extended to March 2020.

This agreement is merely a stopgap that highlights the industry’s failure to secure vital long-term reimbursement for innocent victims of devastating transfer fraud.

It’s clear that a voluntary, industry-led approach to protecting scam victims is not enough.

The next government must work with the regulator to make the code and reimbursement mandatory – to finally ensure millions of people are no longer at risk of losing life-changing sums of money.

Original letter (08/10/2019)

Dear Ms Johnson,

This joint letter from Which?, the largest consumer organisation in the UK, and UK Finance, on behalf of HSBC, Santander, Barclays, Lloyds, Metro, Nationwide and RBS follows the Pay.UK Call for Information and is in support of the Faster Payment Scheme (FPS) Change Request.

Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud is a crime which can have a devastating impact on its victims, which is why protecting consumers is a priority for us all.

The launch of the voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model Code in May set a new standard of consumer protection from this type of fraud, with a commitment from signatory firms to reimburse victims provided the customer has met the standards expected of them under the Code.

The Code was produced by the APP Scams Steering Group, which was composed of representatives from consumer groups, the finance industry, government bodies and regulators.

‘No blame’ fund

The proposal set out in the Change Request for an FPS CRM fee will provide a long-term, sustainable funding system for the reimbursement of victims of APP scams under the voluntary Code in situations where both the customer and payment service provider (PSP) have done everything expected of them, known as a ‘no blame’ situation.

Funds gained from the FPS fee will be held centrally in a ‘no blame’ fund.

If the Pay.UK board fails to pass the Change Request, many victims of APP scams could once again risk losing their life savings to this devastating crime.

Following consultation on seven funding options, with responses received from 34 stakeholders, including many Pay.UK participants, the Steering Group agreed that the FPS model is the best method to ensure that reimbursement for blameless victims continues beyond the end of this year.

As well as providing reimbursement in a ‘no blame’ situation for customers of PSPs which are signatories to the Code, the proposed model represents the only long-term funding option that also guarantees customers will be covered if their PSP is not a signatory.

If a customer is a victim of an APP fraud and their PSP is not signed up to the Code, they will be able to take their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service which will have the power to refer the PSP to the ‘no blame’ fund to reimburse the customer.

Reducing APP scams

The proposed fee would provide a financial incentive for the firms involved in push payments to individually and collectively reduce APP scams, above and beyond the minimum requirements in the Code.

The protection that the fee offers consumers could also benefit payment providers and Pay.UK by strengthening trust among consumers in the Faster Payments Service.

The Faster Payments Service was designed for speed and convenience. Unfortunately, sensible pro-customer and pro-growth measures are being exploited by criminals.

Latest data from UK Finance shows that in the first six months on 2019, 95per cent of all APP fraud involved a customer making a Faster Payment. Therefore, it is important for Pay.UK to consider the part it can play in the fight against this growing fraud, by recognising that it has the power to take decisive action to protect end users.

The FPS Change Request, submitted to Pay.UK in June, provides a mechanism to achieve this consumer protection.

As well as being the decision of the APP Scams Steering Group, the Change Request also demonstrably fits with Pay.UK’s strategic objectives. Specifically, these include being “end user focussed” and “acting as a catalyst for change in the payments industry; addressing threats; and supporting industry-wide initiatives.

Protecting consumers

The fight against rising APP fraud has become an issue for society to tackle. Pay.UK is supporting these efforts with its work to introduce the Confirmation of Payee service.

Careful consideration of the case for the CRM FPS Fee is now needed, as Pay.UK assesses the responses to its Call for Information.

This well-thought through and widely supported option is proportionate to payment providers of different sizes, consistent with the APP Scams Steering Group proposals, and widely supported by consumer bodies and much of the financial industry.

We urge the Pay.UK board to accept this proposal, and put the protection of consumers at the heart of its decision.

Yours sincerely,

Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which?

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance.


This is the responsibility of the banks and they must face up to their responsibilities.

When I go to the bank to pay some money into another account, they ask so many questions and you always have to pay the money into your own account before you can transfer into another account. I am right there infront of them but yet they insist whereas, if it is a real scammer that is done no questions ask. The scammer always wins. I ask them to stop a payment the other day but they said they weren’t allowed to do that. I was shocked so, now the scammer has got my money and I have to pay the bank, not fair.

Halfpint says:
8 October 2019

Banks should check the account details – name matches account & account history – before making transfers.
There should also be a breathing space of 24 hours if transfers have not been made to those accounts previously.

Bruce Neilson says:
8 October 2019

All that will happen is banks will pass the buck onto the consumer in higher charges and fees.

I do not trust the Banks, They will only do what will benefit them, God help us if we ever become a cashless society. They will have us over a barrel!!

I am aware that banks, phone providers, internet companies, et al will All demand my password and other personal information before giving me the time of day, but WHY is the reverse not true? I have tried to set up a password for THEM to give to ME in case they need to ring me, but this is apparently too difficult to organise! If we all had a single word password that we gave to them to repeat back to us, it might put paid to the frauds where they impersonate a legitimate company like BT, Virgin or our banks, and allow them to concentrate on tracking down the other scammers! Stopping our money from being unwittingly “exported” might be a first step. If they only permitted our cash to leave the country when we specifically asked for an International payment, it would be a first step. There could also be a hold placed on money being transferred out of any account, for example, money paid in cannot be transferred out for 24 hours after it was received. This would at least alliow people to stop an think – something that the fraudsters go to great lengths to avoid. None of these would seem to be particularly difficult to implement, but perhaps it is more a failure of will than imagination. .

Glynis Lofty says:
9 October 2019

such a simple request but because it would show failure on there part if it went wrong they would not do it .It is a great idea .well said

We have a rule never to divulge password information unless we initiate the call. There is the odd occasion where they have to call us back for some reason when we have to make the decision whether to go through security or call them back and ask for the department handling the query. If the voice returning the call is the same we most likely go through security otherwise we will get the name of the department and call them back on another phone. I haven’t tried it, but if they are returning your call, they would probably go along with a one-off password.

You can ask them questions regarding your account that only they could answer once you have passed their security and they have your account in front of you. Date of a transaction, an amount on a certain date or something from your call log.

I agree with holding international transactions and money paid into an account that does not have regular in and out payments.

Denbow says:
8 October 2019

I feel that one aspect of this fraud which as not been addressed is BT’S RESPONSIBILITY. this company allows fraudulent telephone calls and automated fraudulent telephone calls to continue unabated , I personally receive approximately 6 of these calls per day, why aren’t they putting in systems to protect us from these scammers?

I don’t get your logic Denbow unless you live in a different world people in the UK are customers of a large number of telephone companies and they still haven’t stopped these calls .
You obviously don’t know that those companies that use BT,s network have their OWN equipment in BT,s exchanges its called “unbundling ” and was backed by the government and the general public that means those companies control what goes through their telephone network NOT BT .
If I was a scammer and said -this is Walt Disney studios and you have won a sum of money but we need your bank details would you blame Walt if you were scammed ??
BT doesn’t control the world those VoIP calls are usually outside the UK and several US web companies sell block telephone numbers to the scammers its also now easy to use your neighbours telephone number to scam people .

Yes I have always wondered why we have to give our passwords to these organisations. We shouldn’t have to. That is something that should be kept private. And also the cv on the back of credit and debit bank cards. They should not demand to know that.
I recently tried to get legal advice from a company called Just Answer. I paid £5 but the advice I got was superficial and irrelevant. I then found they had made me a member, and they were deducting £35 per month from my account. I am not a member and I never gave them authority to take £35 per month out of my account. The public should be warned about this company.

Mary have you read the T&C,s ?
I could not believe what I was reading its a total disclaimer –
no guarantee that the advice is coming from a professional
based in the USA
no privacy
actually admits remote desktop app will have full control of your computer
Just Answer disclaim any responsibility for ANY person giving you advice
What you might have done is registrar as a user on their website by doing so you automatically create an account and the subscription is created and a recurring monthly fee is set up.
If I didn’t know better I would class this as a scam but they cover themselves by referring you to the T&C,s ,have a read of the T&C,s the wording makes my hair stand on end –

Isbjorn says:
9 October 2019

Looks like you ought to invest in a call blocker if you’re getting 6 such calls every day.

Glynis Lofty says:
9 October 2019

I answer the phone to these scam call if I have time I will wind them up something rotten .

I try and beat my last time 45 minutes and 18 seconds I pretend to do as they ask and sound so worried. They ask me to put numbers into my computer but I just tap randomly at my off computer or I will read them a non existent card number but each time they read it back I say no ? not a 1 it a 2 etc etc. when I run out of time and need to go I say can I Just say to you do you think I am stupid yo give you the correct info over the phone so you can steal my money ?. I normally get very bad language back at this point or a threat that they will find me (bring it on I say ) I then put the phone down laughing loudly . The funny thing is I have not had a call for around 3 months now .I wonder why .

Hi I do the same. Its great fun. I have only managed 31 minutes

I am the opposite. I try and terminate the call within milliseconds so I can get on with my life.

Much as I am intrigued by the notion that keeping them on the line stops them from bothering someone else I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t. It is only a minor interruption in their routine and they will just keep on making the calls until they get their daily target of hits. Many of the calls nowadays are automated recorded messages inviting you to “Press 1 to speak to an engineer”. Doing that is a big mistake; you might enjoy yourself wasting their time but they have caught you in a net – they know your number is live and active, you will be added to the lists that are sold around the world to other scam outfits, and you might end up paying a very high price for that call.

Hey all,

While this is starting to be a good conversation about scam callers, it isn’t on topic with the bank transfer scam letter conversation that’s happening in this space.

Might I suggest we shift this conversation into the BT Phone Scammers conversation? https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/bt-phone-scam-microsoft-technical-support-computer-pc-scams/

I agree Jon blaming BT when its patently obvious its got nothing to do with them is just giving a platform to those who want rid of BT — a British company which many would like to be owned by foreign powers.

I don’t think we should stifle discussion of whether or not BT is fit for purpose, Duncan – just move it to the proper place.

I appreciate your views on this but BT is by far and away the biggest monopoly service provider in the country and has a dominant stake in the landline and broadband market. It should not be exempt from scrutiny.

BT is the only telecoms service provider that has the capital and cashflow to undertake major and widespread technical developments and there is no doubt that many consumers are dissatisfied with its performance.

John that poster directly blamed BT as such he is well out realism on the telephone network as it stands in 2019 .

John you don’t seem up to date with the latest figures of telecommunications in the UK.
On the mobile front BT has 28 % of UK customers -do you call that a monopoly ? –O2 is only 2 % behind .
Those with a landline fell to 76 % UK wide ,if you take broadband numbers which now include landlines as part of the charges –
BT -9 million customers
SKY-6 million
VM-5 million
so when you say “biggest ” that’s relative in a much lower percentage than you think.
As far as cash-flow etc government money is directed to other ISP,s much easier as BT isn’t the governments “bestest pal ” they still want to hive it off to the USA .
By the way remember Boris,s pledge — £5 billion to upgrade the network to FFP well what was held back and that includes upgrade of the mobile market to 5G –have you costed that !
NO John he had no logical right to come out with that , look John how many times have I been sanctioned for going OFF-Topic ??? too many times and you all agreed I was so when I agree with Which ? about a poster going off topic its a bit much to criticize me on a subject that has universal agreement.

I think you are being unfair about Denbow’s comment, Duncan. Not many people have your comprehensive knowledge of BT and readers can’t be expected to know the intricacies of telecommunications infrastructure. Indeed, it is arguable that Openreach should be developing the digital consumer protection software that Derek P was calling for.

I excluded mobile telecoms from my comment on BT’s monopoly position. But however you cut the numbers, BT is dominant and has a technical monopoly in landline and landline-delivered broadband. I am with BT and generally support the company but it has its faults and has been slow to provide the services that customers want, hence the growth of alternatives. In remote and rural areas, BT is usually the only possible supplier of domestic telecom services [despite local loop unbundling].

The government has indeed relieved other telecom service providers of some of the obligations that are imposed on BT, but that is in order to reduce the dominant monopoly power of BT and which I would argue is in consumers’ interests.

I have still seen nothing that supports your repeated contention that the government wants to hive off BT to American companies. If there were such a proposition, why would it not also consider French, German or Japanese companies, for example? In any case, BT is not the government’s to sell; the government has the power to block a sale but not to force one.

If you read my posts John you will see I first spoke about the new US trial service of blocking those VoIP calls , its only actually started trialing some months ago and will block around 80 %-90 % of those calls .
Its a new digital controlled system not a human intercepted service as previously tried and sold privately by some US companies who intercepted the calls and checked them.
The problem with the restrictions imposed on BT is that they now impose an unfair advantage over BT , things have changed all those private companies shot in and scooped up all the inner city high profit areas leaving BT to face severe criticism because NONE of them wanted those rural far flung from exchange and street cabinet customers so BT is left with their anger which is now only a few % of the population but its very angry .
So why not force those other companies to run FTTP ?
answer -they cost an average price of £4000 /customer and one guy miles in the country with no landline applied for a fibre line –cost – £120,000 now that’s reality who do you expect to pay for that BT pensioners ? BT has already raided the pension fund and owes them money.
Try doing that with the other private companies and shareholders.
If the American system is a success then maybe pressure could be put on BT & others to install (programme) a British version but that’s way in the future.

This is not the right Conversation in which to continue this discussion, Duncan, so I shall say no more here.

After all – it is only fair !

Yet another really great campaign by the Which “Masters” – I fully support this along with the many other campaigns run by you. I feel especially irritated at the Banks as they were once, not only a bank, but a supportive and major part of a community. People would refer to ” their Bank” . In recent years they are nothing but a money making enterprise “selling” themselves as some kind of “helping hand” to people requiring a mortgage. loan, or insurance.
Keep up the good – no great – work that you do.


Isbjorn says:
9 October 2019

Sorry, this may sound harsh, but these scams and how they function have been so well publicised now for so many years that I have little sympathy for anyone now claiming to have been ‘blamelessly caught out’ by them. The cost of the proposed fee per transfer will just get passed back onto sensible customers by some means or other – why should those sensible customers who respect all of the warnings and consider carefully what they are doing end up paying for those who are still gullible enough, in spite of the media onslaught of warnings and examples, to allow themselves to be duped?

Glynis Lofty says:
9 October 2019

Wow It does sound harsh ,most of the time its oap that are targeted and they maybe don’t have the same reactions or are on the dementia list ,stroke ,illness etc.
They target by worrying so the person doesn’t have time to think ,they worry their hard earned money is at stake.
If Elaine’s suggestion was taken out it might stop some vulnerable people losing £1000s of pounds .
I would not mind a few pence taken off mine. One day it might be me that was not on the ball and actually fell for one of these calls or it could be a member of your family.
I am a sensible person , you say you and your family are but can you definitely say you or they would not fall for this as you get to been a oap or illness takes over?

Isbjorn – Until you see it for real you cannot imagine how cunning and crafty a scam can be. I think that to say you have little sympathy for people caught out is somewhat heartless. I hope we can have sympathy for people even if we disagree about the best remedy for the problem of deceiving people out of their money by false pretences.

Not everyone is in a constant state of mental readiness to handle convincing e-mails from impostors and scammers pretending to be people they know and trust. We can all be wise with hindsight and we can all consider ourselves too clever to fall for a scam but the sheer scale of the authorised push payment frauds shows that a lot of highly intelligent and worldly-wise people are being defrauded every day.

I’m getting an awful lot of messages from my bank telling me of how they are keeping me safe and telling me to sign here if I agree. I have an uneasy feeling that if anything goes wrong in future, they will be able to say I agreed to it and point to my signature.

You have every reason to be fearful Alan signing anything like that without reading the full T & C,s/contract is going against basic law in this country .
Its bad enough a phone call ties you into a contract but no lawyer in this country would advise you to sign something where you could lose future legal rights to fight an unfair ruling by a bank , it sounds like a scam to me as banks don’t usually keep repeating messages .
Phone your bank Alan .

If they made it whereby the funds come in from the buyer and are held by the bank until sale is complete then bank pays seller. This will ensure buyer gets kosher goods and kosher sellers get their money and scams cannot then be made.Simple yes. should work yes.

It is simple the buyer pays the money into a holding place at bank, seller sends goods or services, holding place in bank pays seller or provider.The scammers should not then be able to scam.

frauds take place against the most elderly who least expect, and are more trusting of people, and do not expect or think that there are persons around who would want to fraud them.

Ann, I think that becomes especially true when things are done on-line.

Some folk, including many that we might think of as elderly, are relative newcomers to doing things on-line. As such, they can be quite accustomed to acting on the instructions of others or even letting others carry out transactions for them. This, of course, makes such folk ideal prey for scammers.

For those willing to accept the need to learn digital life skills, help is at hand. A number of groups organise and run appropriate training courses on PC and internet usage. However I fear that the available quantity of those resources is quite small relative to the potential need for them.

Joanna Bentom says:
9 October 2019

The banks are responsible for safety ….. they make a lot of money from people using banks so they should protect people from scams!

Philip Shepherd says:
9 October 2019

The banks taking on responsibility when people accidentally ‘give their money away’ to fraudsters is risky and opens up the prospect of partners-in-crime abusing the compensation arrangements at the expense of its other customers. Banks checking bank account NAME seems to be another sensible precaution that banks could introduce. Why are they not doing this?

As someone who was scammed and lost 3 thousand 3 hundred pounds I want to get this stopped. The bank Santander told me it was my fault which at the time had a devastating effect on me my family my health. There must be more protection.

I certainly believe that there should be a safety net for innocent people who have been hit, but I recognise that there needs to be a gate-keeping process. Too many people don’t take reasonable care when using modern fast-payment facilities and I think THEY should NOT be bailed out for their own negligence. Why should THEY be selfishly allowed to rely on the safety net when they’ve been arrogantly irresponsible?

Anthony Edwards says:
9 October 2019

I was the victim of a very elaborate scam and my bank advised the police (although they later denied it). The police then called on me to take details of the activity and later issued a crime number. While at one of their branches where I spend a whole afternoon a member of the banks fraud department advised me he felt I had a case for reimbursement on the grounds of misrepresentation. It was late and the local bank staff who’d devoted a considerable time to my situation needed to start closing and I needed to get back home. So the man gave me a number to ring. The following day I rang that number expecting to speak to the same person, but instead I spoke with someone from Belfast. She was aware of the case but having heard my story declared the the ‘scammers’ had done nothing wrong and there was no case to answer. It took several months eventually to get the bank to accept there was a case and they said they would try to get ‘some’ of my money back. That was several weeks ago and I have heard nothing. I lost all of my savings and am now also struggling to repay debts. I have no faith in these banks at all. It would be in their own interests to set up a world-wide network and work together to stop these fraudsters because a) They have the information and b) they would benefit. But I suspect they won’t do much because the fraudsters themselves are putting that money with a bank somewhere!

Your comment on a worldwide network rang a bell with me Anthony, in the USA an organisation gathers all scam reports and notifies the FBI etc Why do Americans have this service but not the UK ?—-answer (official )–lack of resources/money .-

The US Government takes this seriously , it helps protect its citizens read and scroll down to Report Scams and Fraud-

Jenny Cole says:
9 October 2019

Very much needed

My bank, which is Barclays, always contacts me by text if there is different or unusual activity regarding my bank account before allowing payments/transfers to go through. Once I have confirmed that the payment is legitimate, & only then, will they allow the payment/transfer to be made.

Grace El-Yasir says:
9 October 2019

Our money is suppose to be safe our banks. It is not our fault if unlawful people get access to our accounts. There should be an insurance held in banks to cover this money. They charge enough for any thing that they do for us.