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.
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?