BANK transfer fraud has doubled in the past year but victims are only getting back 20 per cent of what scammers have stolen from them.
It comes as major banks are still dragging their heels on deciding how to refund the victims of this rising scam.
Getty – Contributor Bank transfer fraud has more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017
New figures from trade body UK Finance reveal that there were a whopping 84,624 cases of bank transfer fraud reported in 2018 with an astonishing £354.3million stolen.
When you take businesses out of the equation, that leaves 78,215 cases where individuals were tricked in bank transfer cons with £228.4million stolen.
That’s is more than double the number of people who had cash stolen in 2017 when 38,596 incidents were reported and £107.5million taken.
UK Finance points out that the way data on this type of fraud – know as an Authorised Push Payment (APP) scam – is collated has changed since 2017 meaning more banks now report their figures.
This could explain some of the increase in the number of cases and the rise in the amount stolen.
How to protect yourself from fraudstersACTION Fraud recommends taking the following advice to stay safe:
When making a purchase, be suspicious of any requests to pay by bank transfer or virtual currency instead of safer methods, such as credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Don’t pay for goods or services unless you know and trust the individual or business.
Personal information obtained from data breaches is making it increasingly easier for fraudsters to create highly targeted phishing messages and calls – watch out for these.
You shouldn’t assume the caller is genuine just because they’re able to provide some basic details about you.
Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information.
But what’s worrying for consumers is that the total amount being refunded or recovered from fraudsters is just 20 per cent – and this hasn’t changed from 2017 to 2018.
In 2017, just £22.6million (21 per cent) was handed back to victims while in 2018 £42.3million (19 per cent) was recovered.
This type of scam typically sees fraudsters impersonating genuine people and organisations, such as banks, HMRC or the police, to get you to transfer cash to them.
The Sun has reported how readers have been conned out of large amounts of cash and not seen a penny refunded, such as landscape gardener David Hunt who lost nearly £10,000 when scammers pretended to be from HMRC.
And grandmother Jo Wilson, who had her £40,000 life savings stolen by scammers posing as staff from NatWest.
Criminals also use social media to advertise goods or investment opportunities that never materialise after the transfer has been made.
The problem is that scammers quickly transfer the cash abroad, which UK Finance says makes it difficult for banks to trace and recover the stolen money.
At the moment, there’s no legal protection for victims to get their cash back.
ITV documentary Fraud: How They Steal Your Bank Account shows police officers chasing Moldovan criminal Oleg Borta as he collects a skimming device from a cash point
Some of the major banks have agreed to a voluntary code to better protect people from transfer fraud but it doesn’t take force until May 28.
And even when it does, it’s only voluntary, and there’s still no agreement on how fraud victims will be reimbursed when neither themselves or their bank is to blame.
Banks had been considering forcing customers to pay fees or take out insurance to pay for bank transfer fraud.
But the APP Scams Steering Group is still working on a longer-term funding solution for 2020 onwards. In the meantime, members have agreed to cover fraud costs until the end of this year.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “The industry continues to fight fraud on every front to protect customers and prevent this kind of crime.
“Investing in advanced security systems and new ways to track stolen funds, assisting law enforcement in tackling the criminals and supporting the Government in improving the ways in which intelligence is shared.”
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