Fraud: Higher chance for compensation

Kevin Peachey
BBC News, Personal Finance correspondent

Image source, Getty Images

Under government plans, victims who fall for fraud and transfer money to con-artists are legally entitled to damages.

In the first six months of this year, fraud rates rose 71%.

Bank refunds are currently governed by a voluntary Code that consumer groups claim has been used to scam victims.

A number of regulators will force 14 large banks in the UK to release data regarding fraud reimbursement.

A total of £355m was lost through so-called authorised push payment (APP) fraud cases in the first half of the year. Fraudsters are paid by victims who believe they work for legitimate organisations such as the police or solicitors.

These scams accounted for a significant chunk of the £754m lost in total to fraud during the same period.

Different banks have applied a voluntary code in different ways, so some victims get refunded and others don’t, even though they are likely to be living under similar circumstances.

Customers don’t know how common cases involve their banks and how many victims get reimbursed.

These plans will be reviewed until January and would change legislation to guarantee that no one is liable for any damages.

Payments Systems Regulator said also that big banks and building society would have to publish information on APP frauds.

These include: the AIB Group, Bank of Scotland (UK), Barclays and Clydesdale Bank; the Co-operative Bank. HSBC, Lloyds. Metro Bank. Monzo. NatWest/RBS. Nationwide Building Society. Northern Bank. Santander. Starling Bank. TSB. Ulster Bank. Virgin Money.

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Chief executive of Which? consumer group, Anabel Hoult described the plan as a “huge win for consumers”

“People continue to lose life-altering amounts of money every single day. The Treasury must swiftly move towards introducing necessary legislation,” she stated.

Katy Worobec is the managing director for economic crime at UK Finance. She represents banks and said that fraud has devastating effects on victims. The money stolen funds are serious organised crime. Therefore, the primary goal of the banking industry is to stop these fraudulent activities from happening.

“Over £300m has been reimbursed to thousands of customers since the APP voluntary code was introduced in 2019. While we agree there is more to do, we have always called for a regulated, legislatively backed code to guarantee consistent consumer protections.

But she stated that it was up to other institutions, like social media or online platforms, to also tackle fraud.


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