Tar­geted by on­line fraud­sters? You’ll get a pop-up warn­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE - Sam Mead­ows

Bar­clays cus­tomers are to be warned via pop-up mes­sages that they may have been tar­geted by fraud­sters when they make on­line pay­ments that ap­pear to be “sus­pi­cious or out of char­ac­ter”.

The bank­ing gi­ant says it has be­come the first in Bri­tain to of­fer this sort of proac­tive fraud preven­tion ser­vice. Tele­graph Money has re­peat­edly called on the high street banks to pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion for their cus­tomers, many of whom have been de­frauded of tens of thou­sands of pounds.

If a Bar­clays cus­tomer makes a sus­pi­cious pay­ment – for ex­am­ple, a large trans­fer to a new payee – they will be sent three ques­tions de­signed to help them de­ter­mine whether they could have fallen vic­tim to scam­mers. They can then call the bank for im­me­di­ate as­sis­tance.

Mar­tyn James of Re­solver, a com­plaints ser­vice, said the move was wel­come but ques­tioned why it had not been done sooner and why other banks were not fol­low­ing suit.

“Bar­clays should be ap­plauded for lead­ing the way on this but the fact re­mains that the banks have known about this sort of fraud for a long time and have been too quick to blame the con­sumer,” he said. “This is a very sim­ple thing to do. The banks have still not ad­dressed why it’s so easy for the crim­i­nals to trans­fer money out so quickly.

“No one has yet an­swered the ques­tion of how £80,000 can go into an ac­count which has sat empty for a long time and then dis­ap­pear within two min­utes.”

Mr James said Bar­clays’ ini­tia­tive would also do noth­ing to com­bat the many other types of fraud per­pe­trated on the Bri­tish pub­lic, in­clud­ing “courier fraud” and other types of off­line tar­get­ing.

In the first half of 2017 there were more than 5,000 cases of fraud re­ported ev­ery day in Bri­tain, a to­tal of 900,000.

Bar­clays’ re­search sug­gested that almost three quar­ters of frauds were never re­ported to the po­lice as the vic­tims felt too em­bar­rassed. A third of Bri­tish adults have fallen vic­tim to a scam, with the av­er­age amount stolen be­ing £893. Cather­ine McGrath, a direc­tor at Bar­clays, said the bank was aim­ing to make so­ci­ety “more re­silient” to crim­i­nals.

The bank’s an­nounce­ment came days af­ter news sur­faced of dis­cus­sions over a 555 “fraud hot­line” to help vic­tims quickly re­port crimes to spe­cial­ist fraud teams. Cur­rently vic­tims of fraud are ad­vised to call Ac­tion Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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