Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams cost victims £354.3m last year but only £83m was refunded to customers, according to UK Finance. APP scams occur when a fraudster tricks you into authorising a payment into their account by convincing you they are someone else – usually a company you’ve done business with, a friend or even a solicitor.
Unlike other types of financial fraud, victims of these scams have not been entitled to any form of reimbursement due to the loss not being a fault of the bank once you have authorised the payment– unless there has been a clear fault in the way the bank has handled the transaction. But now, as of 28th May 2019, a new voluntary code has been put into place which eight major banks have committed to implementing immediately – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro Bank, Nationwide, RBS, Santander and Starling Bank. Under this code, innocent victims of APP scams should be reimbursed by their bank provided they have not been negligent in any way.
The reimbursement money will come from a ‘central pot’ which has been created by these financial providers to then be withdrawn from to refund victims where neither the bank or the customer are to blame. A long-term funding solution should be agreed by the beginning of 2020.
A decision as to whether a victim should be refunded will take up to three weeks, or up to seven if it is a complicated case. If a case is disputed and ends up going to the Financial Ombudsman Service, the process could take a lot longer.
Banking giant, TSB, has become the first of major banks in the UK to pledge to refund victims for all types of fraud – including authorised push payment (APP) scams which are notorious for victims not being compensated by banks.
Currently, banks are only required to refund scam victims if money was taken without the customer’s authorisation. If the customer authorised the payment, then banks are not required to compensate them due to it being a fault of the customer. According to UK Finance, throughout 2018, £1.2 billion was lost through bank fraud - £354 million of which was stolen through APP scams. Only £83 million was refunded to customers by financial providers. In April 2018, TSB had an IT meltdown which left millions of customers unable to access their money or log-in to their online banking accounts. The announcement of the new ‘refund guarantee’ forms part of TSB’s mission to rebuild their image, with Chief Executive, Richard Meddings, saying this is about “giving peace of mind to our customers and doing the right thing.”
This new guarantee will refund victims for all types of fraud, effective from Sunday 14th April 2019 – even if the payment was authorised by the customer. The amount possible for compensation will be capped at £1,000,000. Customers will need to report fraudulent activity to the bank, which will then be investigated to find out what happened and how. They will also use this information to inform customers how they can protect themselves from similar scams int the future.
TSB has stated that customers who decide to abuse the system by committing fraud against themselves to gain compensation, or repeatedly ignore safety advice will not be reimbursed under the refund guarantee. Fraudulent activity that occurred before Sunday 14th April 2019 will also not be refunded under the new guarantee.
This is a major step forward for the banking industry and fraud protection in the UK- many customers have lost life changing amounts of money through APP scams and finally victims won’t have to fight to get their money back. It is very important now for all other major UK banks to follow in TSB’s footsteps in order to protect their own customers.
This scam has been making an appearance on and off over the past few years. However, there have been more cases reported this month so we thought it was a good time for a reminder of what the scam is and how to protect yourself from it.
Fraudsters cold call their victims on their landline claiming to be from the phone and broadband company, BT. They will say that you last bill wasn’t paid and they require payment of this immediately as your account has gone into arrears. They demand that this payment is made over the phone using a debit or credit card, otherwise your phone line will be disconnected. The scammer doesn’t seem phased if you say you are not a customer of BT, they simply make up an excuse as to why some of your phoneline payments go to BT as well.
If you challenge the scammer, they will ‘prove’ that they work for BT by ‘disconnecting the phone line for a few minutes’. What they actually do is press the mute button and stay on the line which, to the victim, looks like the call has ended and it prevents them from making any other calls, making it look like the phone line is dead. The scammer can hear your attempts to make other calls, and once they hear you give up, they ring back immediately to demand payment.
BT has stated that occasionally they need to call customers in relation to debt, however, they will never ‘disconnect the phone line’ in the middle of the call.
Scammers have been performing this trick for years, but we have received many of these phishing emails recently so we thought it would be a good time to bring it back to your attention.
Fraudsters look on company websites for a name of someone working in the finance or accounts department. They will take their name and send an email to someone else from the same team, usually someone in the HR department, or something similar.
They will send this person an email, being able to address them by name to make it personal, and claim that their bank details have changed and they need to be updated on the system, effective immediately for the next ‘payment’ (this is where fraudsters guess who payments may get made to).
If you change the bank details to the ones given by the fraudster, the next payment will be made directly into the fraudster’s bank account which may be very difficult to get back due to the payment being authorised.
Spot the Signs:
Over the past couple of months there have been several reports made regarding scammers posing as landlords of properties available online.
These scammers have been contacting potential renters and asking them to pay the deposit, and even the first months’ rent in some cases, prior to viewing the property. In order to sound legitimate, they claim that the money will be kept safe under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
After the victim has paid the money, the fraudster will send an email, claiming to be from the scheme, confirming they have received the deposit and the money will be protected under government legislation.
Similarly, there have also been reports of a fake DepositGuard website (Deposit Guard is the service offered by the Residential Landlords Association for deposit protection with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme). Tenants searching for properties online have been contacted by this fake website, asking for a bank transfer to be made in order to secure the property before viewing it.
Over the past few months, several reports have been made regarding fraudulent investment schemes being advertised on the social media platform, Instagram.
Scammers are posting adverts of ‘get rich quick’ schemes which promise a high return on your investment within 24 hours. Victims are asked for an initial investment of around £600, paid via a bank transfer into the scammer’s account.
Once the bank transfer has gone through, the scammer sends fake screenshots of thousands of pounds being credited into their investment account, which they claim can be released back to them at anytime in return for a fee. When the victim requests for their money to be released, the fraudster ceases all contact and closes the Instagram account so they can’t be contacted again.
How to protect yourself;
A new vein of phishing emails that appear to have come from the courier service, FedEx, have been making their way through victims’ email accounts this week.
The email is simple, just saying “ We have sent you a message with the required information” and then asks you to follow a link in order to open the message in your internet browser.
If you hover over the link, however, it shows a website called www.riskrock.net which is clearly not a secure FedEx website which the sender claims to be taking you to. The email is sophisticated as this link is also contained in the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the email. The sender’s email address also ends in ‘sheargold.com’ which, again, is not a domain name associated with FedEx themselves.
If you follow the unsecure link, it’s likely that it will take you to a fake FedEx website designed by scammers to capture your personal information or banking details.
As of last week, a new ban on pension cold calling scams has been introduced which could see fraudsters now being fined up to £500,000. This has been put into place in a bid to prevent people from falling victim to malicious scams that could cost them their entire life savings. According to the Financial Conduct Authority, these scammers have, on average, stole £91,000 per victim during 2018.
There are two exceptions which this new ban will not prohibit:
This ban has been put in place as cold calling is still the most common method used by scammers in relation to this type of pension fraud.
However, you should still be aware of the other tactics used;
What to do if you receive a call:
If you receive a cold call regarding your pensions, you should gather as much information as you can about the company and caller and report them to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can do this under the ‘make a complaint’ section of their website or over the phone on 0303 123 1113.
Recently we have seen some new phishing emails offering the receiver a Christmas bonus.
The scammer is pretending to be from your place of work, asking you to follow a link to view your payroll account which includes the amount of your supposed Christmas bonus. To make it seem more genuine, they say “This month salary will be paid as usual before December 25th”.
The emails are being send from this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and the display name reads ‘Virgin.co.uk’.
It is likely that the link will take you to a malicious website which has been designed to capture your details, or designed to download malware or viruses onto your device.
A new strain of threatening phishing emails have been circulating the web over the past couple of months.
These scammers are claiming that they have installed spyware onto your computer and have been able to track your movements online. They say that they have caught you on an
adult website and recorded you on your webcam whilst you watched videos.
In order to erase the recordings they have and to stop them sending it to all of your contacts, they are demanding that you transfer Bitcoin into their digital wallet. On top of this, they are
giving out time limits in order to make you panic and act quickly.
Don’t be fooled by these scams. The threatening language is there to panic you and nothing will materialise.
You must ignore the email and report it to your email provider, or to Action Fraud UK.
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Last updated: 03 June 2019 | © KIS Finance 2018 |