Which? reveals potential scale of bank transfer scams

In just two weeks since Which? launched its online scams reporting tool, more than 650 people have told us about losing over £5.5 million to bank transfer scams.

Which? is submitting stories from victims of scams to the Payment Systems Regulator as evidence in its super-complaint into bank transfer fraud. UK consumers now make over 70 million bank transfers a month, but victims conned into transferring money by bank transfer to a scammer currently have no legal right to get their money back from their bank, unlike with payment methods such as credit and debit cards.

The largest single loss reported to Which? is nearly £400,000, with most people losing on average  £1,200. We’ve seen evidence of incredibly sophisticated scams, where consumers could not be expected to spot they were the target of fraudulent activity.

To raise awareness of the devastating impact of fraud and provide information on how to tackle it, Which? is holding an event for MPs in Westminster today, hosted by Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke and Scottish National Party MP Patricia Gibson.

MPs will receive practical advice that they can give their constituents and hear what action Which? thinks needs to be taken to safeguard people from scams.

Alex Neill, Managing Director of Which? Legal Services, said:

“We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg, so it is vital that these stories are heard and action is taken to tackle bank transfer fraud. The harsh reality is if you’re conned into making a payment ​to ​a fraudster via bank transfer you often stand to​ los​e​ large sums of money.

“We expect the financial regulators to use this opportunity to take meaningful action and propose new measures to help the victims of bank transfer fraud.”

People who have been the victim of a bank transfer scam can use the Which? tool to share their experience with the regulator  www.which.co.uk/bank-transfers.

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Notes to editors:

  1. On 23rd September, Which? used its legal powers to make a super-complaint to the Payment Systems Regulator and alert the Financial Conduct Authority. The regulator has until 22nd December to investigate and respond to Which?’s concerns. We want the regulators to:

  • Formally investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud and how much it is costing consumers;

  • Take action and propose new measures and greater liability for banks to ensure consumers are better protected when they have been tricked into making a bank transfer

  1. Which? launched its scams reporting tool on Friday 4th November. Statistics in this release are correct as at 16th November 2016, after the tool had been active for 13 days. Total uses of the tool were: 31,018; Of which reports by individuals affected by bank transfer fraud: 653; total financial value of scams reported through Which? tool: £5,501,397; Single largest loss £395,802.

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