Lack of industry action leaves consumers exposed to bank scams

Banks are still leaving customers exposed when it comes to bank transfer scams, five months after the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) found evidence that they could be doing more. According to research by Which?, people are still losing money and the consumer group warns it has not yet seen enough evidence that the industry is making progress in protecting its customers, as it calls on the next Government to take tough action on financial fraud.

The results reveal that one in 10 (8%) people in the UK had made a bank transfer, or knew someone that had made a payment, that later turned out to be to a fraudster. Of those people who had lost money to bank transfer scams, more than half (54%) had been victims in the last six months.

These latest findings highlight that some people are still losing life-changing sums of money to this type of scam, with nearly four in 10 (37%) saying they didn’t get any money back at all.

In September 2016, Which? made the first super-complaint to a financial regulator, calling on the industry to do more to better protect its customers from bank transfer scams. The new research shows that 80% of people think that banks should be responsible for recouping money lost to bank transfer scams.

Following a lack of clear improvements from the industry, Which? is today writing to banks calling for them to clearly outline what action they are taking to safeguard consumers from bank transfer scams.

Tackling financial fraud and scams must be a top priority for the next Government according to 31% of consumers. In its Consumer Agenda for Government, Which? is urging the next Government to set out an ambitious plan to ​ensure that financial institutions do more to protect ​consumers from ​bank ​transfer scams.

Gareth Shaw, money expert at Which?, said:

“Despite the fact that consumers are still losing life-changing sums of money to fraudsters it’s not clear what meaningful action the banks have taken to protect their customers

“People assume that banks will look after them and their money. So it’s vital that the industry, regulator and next Government act quickly and decisively to tackle financial fraud. Failure to do so will continue to leave consumers paying the price.”

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Notes to editors

  1. Scams research: Populus, on behalf on Which? spoke to 2,117 nationally representative UK adults via an online poll between the 3rd and 4th May 2017. 41% of people lost between £1,001 and £10,000, 50% lost up to £1,000, and 6% lost £10,001 or more. 8% of people surveyed had either made a payment, or knew someone who had made a payment to a fraudulent account.
  2. Priorities for Government research: Populus, on behalf on Which? spoke to 2,130 nationally representative UK adults via an online poll between the 19th and 20th April 2017. Respondents were asked to select up to three consumer issues they believe the Government should prioritise next, out of a prompted list of ten issues.
  3. Which? Consumer Agenda for Government: Which?’s ‘Consumer Agenda for Government’ was published on Saturday 29th April and is available here:

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