United Kingdom bank customers lost £500m to scams in first half of 2018

Marco Green
September 25, 2018

Bank customers in the United Kingdom lost £500m in six months to scammers and fraudsters, figures have revealed.

A total of £145m of that was lost through authorised push payment (APP) scams, where people were duped into authorising a payment to another account, the trade body UK Finance said.

Unauthorised fraud is when a transaction is carried out by the third party without permission being given by the account holder.

By far the most common fraud of this type is purchase fraud, whereby a victim believes they are paying for a legitimate service or item, with £19.4m lost in 21,483 cases.

This is because current legislation means they are liable for any losses incurred if they authorise a payment themselves.

Customers lost £145m through APP scams in the first half of 2018, while the other £358m was lost in unauthorised fraud and could be repaid.

These scams often happen online, and examples include payments made for cars or holidays that are never delivered or provided. Telegraph Money has been campaigning for banks to do more to help victims of bank transfer fraud.

Fraudsters have increased their onslaught on consumers in the past few months; the figure of £145 million is about 50 per cent higher than in the same period previous year, according to data from UK Finance, the banking trade body.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said the figures showed scams posed a major threat to the UK.

She added that the industry was taking action to tackle the problem, by investing in security systems and cyber-defences, as well as bringing in new standards to ensure victims get support from their payment providers.

Ms Worobec also emphasised that two-thirds of all unauthorised fraud was successfully thwarted by United Kingdom financial institutions.

APPs were the subject of a "super-complaint" made in September 2016 to regulators by Which?, which has been calling for banks to shoulder more responsibility when victims are tricked in this way.

"Banks. have not done enough to protect their customers, who continue to lose life-changing sums of money to ever-more sophisticated crooks".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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