The prevalence of bank transfer scams in the United Kingdom has led to the loss of millions of pounds. Official figures released on Monday revealed the worrisome scale of fraudulent activities in the country. The first half of the year witnessed the disappearance of £145 million— reaching an average loss of £1 million daily and 50 percent higher than what was recorded in 2017.
Banks have been found culpable in these activities following their hesitance in refunds and apportioning the blame to customers for being behind the facilitation of such transfers. This posture has veiled the accurate figure for authorised push payment fraud’ which many assume is quite higher than what is being reported.
The political class and consumer champions have begun to lead the clarion call for consumer protection and the need to arrange a compensation plan for alleged victims. They are also of the opinion that the figures are quite higher than what is being reported.
Today Money Mail has launched a major campaign for fairer treatment for those who have borne the brunt of such scams. A good number of these victims are reported to have parted ways with their life savings courtesy of these scams.
Banks logged 34,128 cases of push payment frauds from the beginning of the year to July. Breaking this down amounts to an average rate of 200 a day. Trade body UK Finance reported the return of a meager £31 million out of a total of £145 million stolen.
The proposed publication of new rules by Payment watchdog before the week runs out should come as a welcome development to victims who are still hoping for reimbursement. Bank customers who have taken the necessary precautions will also be catered to in the latest provision.
While deliberating on the matter, a Labour member who is in the Commons Treasury committee said:
“The rate of fraud is increasing at an alarming rate, and in the vast majority of cases, victims never see their money again. It’s wholly unacceptable. All of us must take personal responsibility for protecting ourselves against fraud, but banks must also acknowledge that scams are becoming more sophisticated. There should be a compensation scheme to help victims.”
Complaints Service Resolver Marty James think the gravity of the problem has been beaten down due to the reluctance of victims to lodge complaints.
“What’s most troubling is the fact that they only cover fraud that’s been reported, therefore they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Given that countless people don’t report being defrauded it’s likely that well over a million pounds a day – and maybe more – is being stolen from British people by increasingly sophisticated fraudsters.”
Fraudsters got the better of Michael Sleddon as he naively parted ways with a third of his retirement fund after his scammers posed as his bank and broadband provider.
The scam began after he received a call offering him a Virgin Media discount. The impostor sought for his card details and claimed an engineer would visit him. Mr. Sleddon sensed something fishy and put calls through to Barclays which promised to nullify his card.
At this juncture, he got another call from a man who claimed to be an official from the bank’s fraud team and informing him of the risk trailing his money.
Mr. Sleddon was persuaded to transfer £9,000 to a safe account before Barclays proceed in blocking a second £8,000 payment. Mr. Sleddon also forwarded a sum of £11,700 from HSBC. Mr. Sleddon thought all that had happened over after the phone call and realized he had just been scammed.
It was, however, too late and his money has been carted away. He said:
“I have just retired after running a small business and had transferred a large sum of money to my account six days earlier. It was for drawing down in my retirement. Someone must have known.”
Barclays and HSBC refused to refund the money as they claimed he was privy to the authorised payments. Barclays said they got the assurance of Mr. Sleddon that both payments were genuine.