/ Money

Stopping bank transfer scams – what would meaningful action look like?

Bank scams

Our latest research has found that people are still losing life-changing sums of money to fraudsters exploiting bank transfer payments. So, how much longer should we wait for effective action from industry?

Last year, as part of our super-complaint to the Payment Systems Regulator, we collected evidence from nearly 600 victims of fraud who told us they’d collectively lost over £5.5m to bank transfer scams.

Five months on from the PSR’s response saying that they’d found evidence that banks could be doing more, we’ve been checking to see if anything has changed.

Stop scams

We’ve found that people are still exposed when it comes to bank transfer scams, with many losing significant sums of money.

Despite fraudsters continuing to exploit bank transfer scams, we’ve not seen enough evidence that banks are making progress to protect their customers.

Roger and his wife lost £2,000 to a scammer posing as their gardener:

And cases like Roger’s are far from unique. In fact, our latest research reveals that one in 10 people in the UK had made a bank transfer, or knew someone that had made a payment, that later turned out to be to a fraudster. And of those people who had lost money to bank transfer scams, more than half had been victims in the last six months.


Huge sums of money are being lost to these fraudsters, and we found that nearly four in 10 didn’t get any money back at all.

So, today we’ve written to banks calling for them to clearly outline what action they are taking to safeguard consumers from bank transfer scams.

Bank scams

When it comes to banking the general expectation is that banks will look after you as their customer and your money too. But with so many continuing to lose such large sums of money to fraudsters exploiting the system, it’s clear more needs to be done.

The industry, regulator and next government need to urgently take action to tackle financial fraud. We want the next government to set out an ambitious plan to ensure that financial institutions do more to protect consumers from bank transfer scams.

We need your help to do this – please share your scams experiences with us and help keep the pressure on to deliver this change.

Tell us your scams story

Do you think the next government should tackle scams and financial fraud? What should the banks to do to protect their customers from losing money to bank transfers?

Comments
Profile photo of bobberooni
Member

In the olden days before internet banking we had something called a paying-in slip. Every account holder had a book of them, and every time you received a bill it came with one (in fact we still receive them, but most of us don’t use them).

The problems with bank transfer scams (and also mistyped account numbers) would be solved if the banking industry implemented an electronic equivalent. How would this work? Let’s suppose I want you to send me some money: I go to my online bank and I ask it to generate an electronic paying-in slip. This will be a small computer file containing my account details and my name, plus an important extra item, a digital signature (I’m not going to get into details about digital signatures, but they do exist and are straightforward to implement).

I then email this file to you as an attachment, or perhaps put it on my web site for you to download. You then login to your internet banking and present the paying-in slip. Your bank checks the signature and asks if you want to pay money to Fred Bloggs’ account at National Blogminster Bank. If the account holder’s name is not what you expect then you refuse.

If the file has been tampered with or accidentally corrupted then the signature will not match and your bank will reject the paying-in slip.

So if I send you a forged email with my account details and somebody else’s name this will be caught, whereas at present the name is not checked at all. Problem solved!

Member
Philip says:
21 May 2017

I totally agree, the drive by the banks to discourage the use of cheques and paying in slips looks likely to need a change of direction if experience in the USA is correct. I was talking recently to work colleagues in our New York office who told me they now are using cheques and the equivalent of paying in slips more and more because of similar scams over there. What happens in the USA can sometimes be an indicator of what is likely to happen here in the UK.

Additionally, the requirement by some organisations such as a large UK legal practice to be given all four bank account details by email to receive a refund is just plain crazy. When I was asked for this information to be sent to them by email I refused despite protestations that it was “their Policy”. This is probably something that the Account Clerks who set these short-sighted Policies demonstrate that they too live in some alternate universe like bankers. By the four account details I mean the account name, bank name, Sort Code and Account number.

Member
Mr Gregory Allard says:
17 May 2017

If banks were able to stop scammers from duplicating their web page that would be good. Also if they alerted by text, as did my credit card company recently, any suspicious transfers to unusual accounts and withheld them, pending independent confirmation from the account holder.
I now take no unsolicited calls, and have barred anonymous calls on my phone service. This I would recommend to be done by all those concerned about scam calls. Cyber crime has become a menace to society.

Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
Member

My French Bank sends me an email for card payments. If I wish to make a payment to a third party cheques are much used here as bouncing cheques in France is a very serious matter indeed. I have paid by cheques in multiple shops and this is without using a card as I.D.

Finally for large amounts we do indeed have payment detail slips in our cheque book or downloadable which we can give to people who wish to make payments electronically. When we wish to make payments electronically our Bank checks that the RIB details are in accord with the receiving bank details in every respect and then makes payment. This necessitates a two day delay. A small price to pay.

For reasons why payment in France seems more secure I suspect because the State makes the rules and considers security whereas in the UK the banks make the rules and believe in minimising costs for themselves as the main driver.

angloinfo.com/how-to/france/money/banking/using-an-account

Profile photo of JohnPryce
Member

“… and withheld them, pending independent confirmation from the account holder”
YES, this should be a legal requirement on the banks. The kind of scam that relies on hustling someone into thinking they must act urgently, would be killed dead by this.

Member
Roger Jones says:
17 May 2017

Banks have no regard for the service they give to customers. As the service to customers reduces so the bonuses for senior staff increase. Closing branches and sacking staff makes the bottom line look good. Within the criteria for assessing bonuses customer satisfaction should be an important factor.

Profile photo of SteveLockwood
Member

There is a finite amount that banks themselves can do to stop scams.
The first problem lies with the open nature of the internet, user friendly software and service providers (witness last week’s cyber attack), where little is done to tackle the scammers at source.
The second problem lies with us, the consumers, who are very naive, untrained and trusting.

If more is to be done by banks, it must be working with software and internet providers and then warning their customers ‘immediately’ of any risks they are aware of.
I do not think I’ve had any such email from my bank, ever!

I often, though, get spam and phishing mail pretending to be from banks and other investment companies.

Member
Peter Naylor says:
17 May 2017

Banks are increasingly closing branches, they say, because people are using Internet banking more and more, probably true, however, if they do not protect their customers from on line fraud such bank transfers the popularity of Internet banking will diminish rapidly.
Banks are in a position to do much more to protect customer using on line banking services and if they don’t they could find themselves being replaced by a new breed of bank, one that sets up shop on the high street.
Closing branches is not done for customers’ benefit it is done to save money and boost the banks’ profits, it is time some of those savings were reinvested into protection for customers using on line services, particularly bank transfers.
I am fortunate in that, so far I have been able to spot scams and avoid them however, I am not complacent and can’t be sure this will always be the case.
I also had a neighbour who lost his life savings to fraud, sadly this gentleman was so ashamed he took his own life rather than face up to what had happened, the world is a much sadder place without him.
So I support all efforts to fight the faceless fraudsters perpetrating these crimes.

Member
Dave Row says:
17 May 2017

1. Never answer a telephone call where the incoming number is shown as “withheld” or “unavailable”. Often Googleing it shows others have marked it as marketing, spam, silent etc. Encourage legislation to make responses above illegal with heavy penalties if used!
2. On electronic transfers make the banks e-mail back recipients name for further checking before sender approves transfer.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Many legitimate calls show as “withheld”.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

This is a problem that can be dealt with. For example, the switchboard number of an organisation can be shown on caller display if it would not be appropriate to show the actual number. If the recipient has an answering machine or uses their service providers facility, a message can be left.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

The switchboard number would disclose the organisation and that is why they are withheld in certain cases.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If legitimate organisations do reveal their number then we could simply ignore withheld numbers, which is what some people do anyway. If the call is important then leave a message, which can be picked up even when you are away from home. Though I now receive very few nuisance calls, we need to put an end to a problem that can make people’s lives a misery.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

This is not about “legitimate” organisations but those that are sensitive and may be very personal to the intended recipient who may not want others to know where the call is coming from.

We then have “international” numbers which may or may not be “legitimate”.

As far as I know no one has come up with a technical solution that will block all unwanted calls because we will not know whether many are “unwanted” and dodgy organisations will no doubt route calls overseas and change numbers if they get caught out.

Well, that’s my take on this. A personal call minder may be the safest solution for someone with a real call problem.

However, if someone has the answer I hope they’ll post it here.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If it is possible that a call might be private then the obvious answer is to provide a mobile number.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Without dragging this out, let us suppose a family member is in touch with a sensitive medical organisation – imagine the rest. They might not want another member dialling the number to find out where the call came from.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If the call is made to a landline number and is answered, how can the caller be sure that they are talking to the right person? When I answer the phone the first thing I establish is who is calling. As I said, mobile numbers are the best answer if you want secrecy.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

They may have a password, or in most cases it will be clear. The requirement exists. So this is not as simple as it seems – would that it were.

Member
W J Cullen says:
5 August 2017

My number comes up as withheld, but it doesn’t stop all the bogus calls, so how do they obtain my telephone number?

Member
j brown says:
17 May 2017

Banks need a wake up call and so do customers.

Bank staff are being replaced by machines that are incapable of doing all at that bank staff can do.
Machines if and when they are working properly still don’t get to know customers personally.
I’d rather queue and wait for a human if more of us did that then the machines would be replaced by.. PEOPLE …gasp.

Why do I have to do my business these days within earshot of the person at the next window or behind me in the queue?

Cheques take longer to clear now than they did 40 years ago and the bank staff will actually deny this if asked about it. That is lying. Transfer of funds could be instant over any distance there is no reason to justify the delay these days other than banks making money out of holding your money.

To prevent customers losing money lets stop this headlong rush into Big Brother’s cashless society.
Paying things with your phone should be stopped, contactless pin only payment should be stopped.
I would not dream of enabling either of these methods of payment.
Though if someone cloned my card maybe they could authorise it themselves.

Bank cards and SIM cards can be cloned these days by a passer by without them ever leaving your pocket or handbag.

Sums of money to be transferred, the banks could ask for Voice verification to be done either by telephone or personal visit to the bank.

I asked a bank to confirm the details were correct for a person I wanted to transfer money to.. the bank said the were unable to do that. That response given today’s technology sounds ridiculous. So I withdrew the cash and delivered it in person. To me thats much safer but the person does live close to me. Verifying the name address and photograph of the intended recipient could be done at the press of a couple of buttons.
Yes or No:
Is this the person …
Is that the address.. Easy.
..

Here is a question to ask yourself.. why are banks willing to pay you to transfer your current account to them and are only interested in doing so if you earn over a certain amount and have that paid into the new account? There must be something in for them even if its long term they still would not be doing it for nothing. Are account agreements being worded exactly the same as they were say 10 years ago? What might the differences be and who do they favour… not you I’ll bet.

Here’s a warning. I do not trust banks. Here is why.
When you put your money in the bank you give it to them.. read your account agreement’s small print… they do not HAVE to let you have it back at all or can restrict how much and how often you may access THEIR money as they did in Greece. If they are willing to do that why should you trust banks at all?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

If we really want to help stop people losing money we could ban online gambling………………………. (who is the real winner?).

Member
Michael Malone says:
17 May 2017

Surely solving online scams could easily be done by the banks. Fraudsters set up dummy bank accounts to have money paid into them, then remove the money and disappear. If the banks made sure of the account holders identities then this would not be possible?

Member
Ian Hill says:
17 May 2017

I’m not sure what to say about this: it seems to me that the big banks and bankers are part of the scamming system. They make and export huge sums of money – all perfectly legal, old boy – but they have made it out of their customers, one way or another: it’s our money. There is plenty for all the political party policies: we have all paid, but it’s hidden in offshore havens. Get somenbody to sort that out.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I don’t leave enough money in my current account for anyone to “make and export huge” amounts out of it, Ian. Obviously that is what happens with the money invested in savings accounts but hopefully some interest will accrue.

Profile photo of SallyHughes
Member

I see all sorts of suggestions about ways of validating identities or payors – but basically it is about validating the payee which is incredibly hard to do if you are the one (the client) initiating the transaction. I can the banks’ problem. My bank (TSB) now issues warnings as you fill in the details of a new payee – but they are pretty oblique (something like ‘this is a NatWest account …’ ). These warnings could be more definite – giving the actual place of the account – is it far from where your gardener lives?? How old is the account?? etc – without giving away protected information about the account holder. Also, for any system to work well on both sides, there has to be a better agreement about who bears inevitable losses. Online banking has been boon and blessing for customers, but they are not in control of key information: the banks are. And the banks should account for the huge savings the system has provided to them. In the early days of such scandals (as losing cash because of a key stroke slip, and a bank refusal to provide vital evidence on the recipients) I think there may have been action to remedy this. So by increment, bits and pieces are dealt with. I think there should be a statutory public interest requirement on banks that where there is a presumption of unjustifiable gain by a client (whether or not by fraud), there must be a duty to disclose information about the recipient, if that recipient is not prepared to account for the gain. All clients should be informed of this, so no one can rest on blanket confidentiality . It could assist with tax evasion and many other dubious transactions.

Member
Clive Warren says:
17 May 2017

I would like the Banks to generate a query whenever money is transferred over an individually agreed limit. How they would do this is up to the bank’s to sort out and take responsibility, they are of course saving immense amount’s of money with the internet system, allowing them to close branches and making people redundant. I am willing to help with this for the correct amount of remuneration.

Profile photo of JohnParks
Member

The actual implementation of (Bank) security generally rests below top board level. There are two few board members with detailed knowledge or appreciation of the problem and how to deal with it. When they entered banking the problems of on-line money transfer was not in their training.

Member
Derek says:
17 May 2017

The banks must accept responsibility for reimbursing customers who are persuaded fraudulently to move their money to a fraudster’s account – with no conditions at all! The banks have the clout and systems to flag suspicious transactions, and even if a customer tries to tell the bank’s counter staff or telephone banking staff that they really mean to carry out a transfer, they should be putting in place systems to stop money being removed from a fraudster’s account irretrievably. It should be made clear that the data protection regulations should not be used to impede the legitimate investigation of where did money go to. These comments are just from the top of my head in a few minutes thought, I’m sure there is much more to be done. I write, as someone so far unaffected by this type of fraud, and I hope I am savvy enough to avoid it, but victims must be protected.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

I would agree providing it was clear to the bank that the account was being operated fraudulently.

Profile photo of DonMoore
Member

With going over old ground, I concur with all comments that have been made, and it is difficult to add to them

However, due to events of hacking of the NHS etc. over recent days, it is now even more urgent that the Banks step up to the plate and cover customers who have been scammed (fortunately I have not been).

Member
Richard Emery says:
17 May 2017

I agree that the banks have not done enough in the past and are being slow to respond to the Which? super-complaint and the report by the Payment Services Regulator.

Recent news stories about Santander show what can go wrong:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39803514
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39924596

My top proposals are:
1. Better communication from the banks when things happen on our accounts. I want a text, an email AND a voice message when a new payee is created (this might be a fraudster creating themselves as a payee) and every time I create an online payment over an agreed amount (say £250). There’s a lot of security in knowledge.
2. The option to have an enforced 24-hour-delay from the creation of a new payee to any payments totalling over £250 going to that payee. This gives time for the bank to text and email me and for me to react if it’s not me doing it. Before you say ‘no way!’ just ask when was the last time that you needed to pay someone more than £250 and couldn’t have created them as a payee 24-hours before the payment had to be made?
3. Account name verification, i.e. when I create a new payee there must be some way for me to validate that it is the person to whom I want to make a payment. Last time I needed to pay a large amount to someone new I sent them £1 and asked them to confirm that they had got it before sending the rest of the money.
4. Every time the bank sends me a message it must include a ‘key-word’ that is, in effect, their password to me. And every time I go online I am invited to change the key-word. Unlike passwords that we have to remember to be able to use them, this is simply to show that the test or email that appears to come from the bank is actually from the bank.

Profile photo of Stubbles
Member

Whilst it’s true that the banks must take more responsibility lets not forget that they have no control over every area that fraudsters are exploiting such as emails being intercepted and then used to lure people into transferring money. This needs direct action from the email service providers who need to find a way to encrypt emails whilst in transit. Also companies such as Google need to do more to remove, indeed prevent, fake websites and phone companies need to detect and stop phone scammers. It would help if the government made it illegal for anyone to collect peoples personal details and pass them on, as many apps currently do. We are currently fighting the fire whilst feeding the flames.

Member
Gordon B says:
17 May 2017

When I contact my bank online or by phone, I need to answer some pre-arranged security questions.
But many people are duped by scammers phoning them and pretending to be their bank. Could the real banks not quote a pre-arranged password or similar if they need to phone a custoner?

Profile photo of BharatPatel
Member

stop selling customers information too other companies so that the customers do not get junk in mails or get phone calls and if the bank has made any mistakes they should be liable too pay back too the customers with interest and a big apology and make sure that it does not happen again , government needs too make a stand on this matter as soon as possible and they should make sure as well that the banks does not make this kind of mistakes again all the banks should be responsible for their mistakes and the CEO’s needs too say sorry too all their customers and they need too take a big pay cut in their wages and profit and sharers and pay back the money too all their customers its about time they did the right thing

Profile photo of toboo
Member

In the case of large amounts of cash being transferred by customers that do not customarily carry out this type pf transaction, particularly the elderly or the vulnerable, the banks should contact the customer prior to the transfer. I would inform my bank prior to such a transaction.

Member
joe mcmaster says:
17 May 2017

I think Internet banking should be banned, it will never be secure- the hackers are always way ahead of the monitorers, and the police.Banks should use their huge reserves to reopen on the high street, and employ staff,so we don’t have to rely on unsafe internet banking.

Member
Dennis Houghton says:
17 May 2017

Everyone knows how much money they have in their bank accounts (or should do )As individuals we should advise our Banks to (A) cap /stop/challenge/ investigate any request for any removal of money which would be considered to be outside the norm. Also it should be made a legal requirement for BANKS to advise a Customer that at least 24 hours would elapse before any transfer would take place so that any nescessary investigation could take place to make sure that any transfer was /would be adviseable /or not . The Bank would have access to a central hub where information as up to date as possible on any misuse /impending issues involving scams could be corrallated . Customers when given advice especially where the transaction is advised against would either ,take the advice , or sign a declaration that having been given advice and then chose to proceed with it clears the bank of any responsibilty for any loss . Where scams take place in particular against vunerable people ( we all can be come vunerable) and also the gullable who are fooled by representatations where the prize is never going to match the investment but sounds too good to be true, any stalling would give time for reflection , save money on compensation claims , put off the scammers.
Most people from the programmes I have seen emmediately they have “pressed the authorisation button” have reflected very soon after about the amount of money they`ve just transacted . In my experience when I was made redundant received retirement payment the Bank actually rang me up to tell me of it`s impending arrival to my account . should the Banks advise Customers when the opposite applies ? .
Where Customers confront their Banks visa the teller (well documented) The Bank should set up a process to enquire /investigate how a specific transaction has been formulated .
As technology allows the scammers to implement quicker techniques to part us from our money , surely the none technical safeguard processes should be put in place until the scammers run out of ideas or they are wasteing their time
To finish , it is all well and good when faced with a self confessed ruined fool after the event and hindsight becomes the barrier to the next scam , it`s too late .
You might say it is none of the Banks business how we get red of our money , funny how it is when it goes wrong .

Member

Set up a central hub where banks have access and report on suspected criminal financial activity , make it a condition for Customers to have their transaction delayed if the banks feels there may be a scam taking place . fore arm by education in schools through financail education programmes.
Educate that hindsight is not that wonderfull when it involves financial lives having been ruined
Banks should take the blame but not if an effort has been made to safeguard a Customer .
There should be a process designed to safeguard a Customer when a pre agreed /unusual amount is put up for transaction.
Face to face only in Branch discussion with Customer as part of terms and conditions where an unusual or over an agreed sum is requested ,paperwork /names /companies involved etc .
More educating Customers with regards to talking about any financial offers that have been made to them where it does not involve a recognised financial institute especially where the internet and the phone is concerned.
I could go on

Member
Mary says:
18 May 2017

We always used to complain about the clearing time on cheque payments but at least that gave us a chance to cancel a cheque with good reason. So should we do away with “instant” transfer so it would give the payee a chance to rethink. The problem as I understand is that the money is split up into accounts so fast its untraceable.

Member
Calum says:
18 May 2017

It’s simple.

A: remove the date of birth from all computer systems that the average employee of a company can access so that such date is not widespreadly available across all industries to the average employee;

B: encrypt the date of birth so that it can only be accessed by company employees with high security clearance;

C: put in place three security questions created by the customer which only the customer and the average employee of the company would know the answer to.

Implementation of A and B would make it much more difficult for hackers and the average employee to access the date of birth, which is a piece of information normally required to open accounts in business.

Implementation of C would end the requirement for use of personal data that should be confidential but which can unfortunately currently be relatively easily found elsewhere by businesses (DVLA, electoral register, companies offering such data), and which is not in fact necessary in order to provide a secure set of security questions.

Someone who knows my name and address could conceivably also manage to obtain my date of birth from numerous sources but would find it much more difficult to know what security questions I had created for use with any given individual company.

Especially if I can create these questions in another language!

Member
Robert Waite says:
19 May 2017

It’s about time the banks did more to protect their customers!

Member
John Wintle says:
19 May 2017

Make the Directors AND Senior Managers of the Banks jointly and personally liable for large fines. That would change things fast enough. If the fines are found to have been paid by the bank on their behalf a custodial sentence should follow.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

The Payment Systems Regulator issued a factsheet in response the the Which? “Supercomplaint” that is informative. One bit says “ We will monitor this work and review industry progress in the second half of 2017. “https://www.psr.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/PDF/PSR-Which-super-complaint-factsheet.pdf

A recent Which? press release says:

“Lack of industry action leaves consumers exposed to bank scams
16 May 2017
Banks are still leaving customers exposed when it comes to bank transfer scams, five months after the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) found evidence that they could be doing more. According to research by Which?, people are still losing money and the consumer group warns it has not yet seen enough evidence that the industry is making progress in protecting its customers, as it calls on the next Government to take tough action on financial fraud. “

This leaves the impression that nothing is being done. I would have thought it better to tell us what the PSR is doing, and in fact to prepare a joint statement with the PSR giving the facts so we are better informed.

Perhaps the weather is making me grumpy, but this seemingly disjointed publicity can create dissatisfaction where it may not be totally justified. I would hope Which? would seek more cooperation – both ways – with those it seeks to inform us about so we are properly………. informed. Giving only partial information is the role of marketing people.

Member
David Stevens says:
19 May 2017

At the moment if you do an on line transfer all you need is the sort code and account number the account name is not actually needed to make the transfer but you are asked for it. Why can the banks not change their system so that the account name must agree with the account number ? if they were so it would prevent a fraudster asking people to transfer money into the fraudster account because the person making the transfer would see a false name or the transfer would be stopped. Fraudsters could open multiple account in the mane of victims but this would itself alert the banks

Member
B M Cross says:
21 May 2017

A new account ( say for 6 months ) should not be allowed to withdraw money deposited in their account for 14 days from the date of deposit. This would allow time for action to be taken to recover fraudulent deposits

Member
steve mellor says:
21 May 2017

how does one get advice as to how to complain, without complaining, about a substantial scam recently perpetrated.
i have little faith that the monies will be recovered, but i have heard that Which are trying to put pressure on the banks to compensate those scammed.

Member
Patrick Taylor says:
21 May 2017

Rather a cryptic stance SM so hard to advise you on a course of action. It is not only Which? that is complaining but I would suggest your current or incoming MP is worth informing so he can pressure the Payment System Regulator also.

Maybe it is time for Bank employees to come clean on the scant control of scamming accounts practiced by the major banks and the lax procedure on account opening and odd transactions.
youtube.com/user/PublicConcernatWork

Member
Michael Poynton says:
21 May 2017

Banks should automatically put a temporary block on the transfer and contact the potential victim and ask them if they are absolutely sure of what they are doing, especially in the case of older people. This would take time but if banks value their customers more must be done to protect them.

Member
William says:
23 May 2017

The banks need to be held solely responsible for all electronic funds transfers, through to the confirmation of payment by the intended recipient, as they are responsible for providing, and encouraging the use of, their electronic funds transfer services.
The banks are the only participants in the management of the electronic funds transfer process who have the: resources, facilities, knowledge, expertise and collective power to prevent such fraudulent transactions; the ordinary person is likely to be oblivious to every possible fraudulent activity that could take place. The banks will only involve themselves in taking any preventative action when they are made to understand that it will cost them if they do nothing to ensure that a transaction has been completed successfully and as intended.
It used to be the case that up to five days were required to clear funds transfers between banks when paying by cheque, in order for the banks to “take all necessary actions to prevent fraud” (although the banks were obviously making use of your funds whilst ‘in transit’).
If anyone needs to make a large payment, then they would be well advised NOT to use the banks’ electronic funds transfer services, where they could be held personally responsible for any potential loss. A ‘still valid’ alternative could be to send a large payment by cheque (crossed A/C Payee), via recorded delivery, to a known address. If the payment related to a property transaction, then the payment should be via a solicitor. Admittedly, such alternative approaches may cost, however, I am sure that the victims of fraud would have been prepared to pay a little more for the peace of mind in knowing that their payment would have been delivered securely.

Member
John Sidney Williamson says:
28 May 2017

Banks should stop scams & fraudsters to protect customers!

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Yes, John, but the question is: “What would meaningful action look like?”.

Member
Dave says:
8 June 2017

My wallet, containing my driving licence, was stolen recently, and when I contacted my bank and other organisations all of their questions to verify my identity could have been obtained from my driving licence which is a big concern. I have mentioned this to all the people who I spoken to in order to get replacements and they have all agreed with my comments, but as far as I am aware are not able to change their standard questions, so the finder of my driving licence could easilly impersonate me to numerous organisations. I do not see how this can be changed without making it very difficult and complex to operate for the customer

Profile photo of greytech
Member

Banks continually warn us not to give away security information and always warn us when setting up or making a transfer to beware of scammers but people don’t heed the warnings. We all need to be responsible for our actions. The banks could do more, such as checking that the name matches the account numbers, as has been said but would we all need to be slowed down because some cannot be educated. Sometimes it is our failure to read what is in front of us, should we all have to pay for other people’s mistakes.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I think there is a major problem with trying to reconcile account numbers with account-holders’ names. In some fonts it can be difficult to tell the difference between NATIONAL DRAINPIPES and NATI0NAL DRA1NP1PES. And did you spot the numeral zero in “national” in the second example? If nothing else, fraudsters are very clever.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If you played with computers in the early 80s you will remember that O and 0 were distinguished by using a slash across the latter. In scientific publications, millilitres and litres are generally represented as mL and L rather than ml and L, because l looks like 1 in some fonts.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Why they ever dropped the slash across the “0” I’ll never know. Combined with the trend towards non-serif fonts it makes life difficult for many, I suspect.

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

A few computer fonts, such as Consolas and Montotype.com (to name but two) still use slashed or dotted zeros. I usually use one or the other if I’m quoting computer scripts, filenames and other data in MSOffice documents.

Here on Linux, the font in my default terminal is DejaVu Sans Mono Book; this also uses dotted zeros.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Thanks for that. I have no idea whether using zeros with slashes or dots could help overcome fraud but if so then it would be an easy change to make.

Member
Aaron Jack says:
23 June 2017

No wonder RBS are struggling, They treat their business customers like rubbish. We are soon to be a charity and RBS lost us £50,000 in funding because they wouldn’t open the bank account in their own time scales.

Member
Margaret Hart says:
12 July 2017

The Bank I had very big problems with was Barclays not the one I am with now and I think you will find quite a few people like that. As I was very ill it was dropped and they got away with owing us a lot of money.