» New bank code set up to help scam vic­tims

TRANS­FER SCAMS CAN BE EX­TREMELY CON­VINC­ING AND A NEW VOL­UN­TARY CODE FROM BANKS HAS BEEN SET UP TO HELP PEOPLE WHO’VE FALLEN FOR THEM, AD­VISES VICKY SHAW

Gloucestershire Echo - - THURSDAY 04.07 -

NO­BODY wants to dis­cover they’ve fallen prey to a fi­nan­cial scam. Some good news though – people who’ve been tricked into trans­fer­ring money di­rectly to a fraud­ster now have a new safety net, which should mean they have a bet­ter chance of get­ting a re­fund.

Some £354 mil­lion was lost to bank trans­fer fraud last year – most of it stolen from per­sonal ac­counts.

Fi­nan­cial providers were able to re­turn £83 mil­lion or 23% of the losses – mean­ing many vic­tims were left out of pocket.

But a new industry code has been put into action, with a fund­ing pot avail­able for blame­less scam vic­tims.

Here’s a look at why the code has been in­tro­duced and how it works...

WHAT’S THE BACK­GROUND?

SO­PHIS­TI­CATED scams have been per­suad­ing people to trans­fer money di­rectly to crim­i­nals – only for them to re­alise af­ter the money has dis­ap­peared that they have been conned. Scams could start with emails, texts and cold calls, and people could be per­suaded they are trans­fer­ring money to a le­git­i­mate or­gan­i­sa­tion such as their bank or another busi­ness.

Scam­mers put vic­tims un­der pres­sure so they don’t have time to think, in some cases say­ing they need to trans­fer money ur­gently to a “safe” ac­count.

People in such sit­u­a­tions have trans­ferred large amounts in some cases, and be­cause they au­tho­rised their bank to make the trans­fer, they may have lost their cash for good.

By con­trast, in cases where scam­mers steal money from people’s ac­counts with­out their knowl­edge, blame­less vic­tims can gen­er­ally ex­pect to be re­funded.

SO WHAT’S HAP­PENED NOW?

THE new code has been in­tro­duced as part of a wider fight­back against this type of scam – known as au­tho­rised push pay­ment (APP) fraud. It means vic­tims who were tricked into trans­fer­ring money but took rea­son­able care are much more likely to get their money back – even in cir­cum­stances where the cus­tomer’s bank has also done ev­ery­thing rea­son­ably ex­pected of it to pro­tect the cus­tomer.

The industry has com­mit­ted to pro­vide ini­tial fund­ing for these “no blame” sit­u­a­tions un­til the end of 2019. A longer-term fund­ing pot should be agreed by Jan­uary 2020.

IS MY BANK TAK­ING PART?

THE code is vol­un­tary, so not ev­ery­one has signed up to it. The bank­ing brands which have com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing the code in­clude Bar­clays, HSBC UK, First Di­rect, M&S Bank, Lloyds Bank, Hal­i­fax, Bank of Scot­land, In­tel­li­gent Fi­nance, Metro Bank, Na­tion­wide, Royal Bank of Scot­land, Natwest, Ul­ster Bank, San­tander, Ca­hoot, Cater Allen and Star­ling Bank.

Mean­while, TSB has made its own fraud re­fund guar­an­tee to cus­tomers, which aligns with the code but also goes fur­ther to cover some sit­u­a­tions which may not be cov­ered by other banks.

TSB says it’s find­ing that, when cus­tomers have the peace of mind of knowing they will be re­funded, they are open­ing up about what hap­pened – giv­ing the bank the full pic­ture so it can bet­ter pro­tect cus­tomers for the fu­ture.

What else is be­ing done to pro­tect people from this type of fraud?

A name-check­ing ser­vice called “con­fir­ma­tion of payee” is also in the pipe­line. The Pay­ment Sys­tems Reg­u­la­tor (PSR) has pro­posed that the UK’S six big­gest bank­ing groups, which are in­volved in about 90% of bank trans­fers, fully put the con­fir­ma­tion of payee mea­sures in place by March 31, 2020.

Con­fir­ma­tion of payee works by mak­ing sure the name of the ac­count some­one is send­ing money to matches the name they have en­tered.

Alerts will no­tify the payer when there has not been a match – mean­ing correction­s can be made be­fore the pay­ment is sent rather than people try­ing to claw the money back af­ter the cash has been trans­ferred.

WHAT PIT­FALLS SHOULD I WATCH OUT FOR?

WHILE blame­less scam vic­tims should find it eas­ier to get a re­fund, if you’ve been ex­tremely care­less then you shouldn’t ex­pect to get your money back un­der the code.

People still gen­er­ally have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect them­selves be­fore they can ex­pect to be re­im­bursed. This could in­clude pay­ing at­ten­tion to any warn­ing signs from their bank, and hav­ing a rea­son­able ba­sis for believ­ing the pay­ment re­cip­i­ent was le­git­i­mate.

But the code also ac­knowl­edges scams may be so con­vinc­ing that even some­one ex­pe­ri­enced in mak­ing pay­ments couldn’t pro­tect them­selves.

While the vol­un­tary code pro­vides a new safety net, it’s best to avoid get­ting scammed in the first place.

So al­ways take time to think and check if you’re con­tacted out of the blue about mak­ing a pay­ment.

Re­port any sus­pect ap­proaches from people to Action Fraud and tell your fi­nan­cial ser­vices provider.

Help to avoid scams is avail­able at

If you have any sus­pi­cions about a trans­ac­tion, contact your bank im­me­di­ately

Many banks are now ready to re­fund money that has been lost through fraud

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