Fraudulent Activities: Which? Requests UK Banks to Release Figures on Percentage of Clients Refunded for Authorized Push Payment Scams

UK-based consumer group Which? has asked local banking institutions and building societies to release figures on the number or percentage of clients they refund for authorized push payment (APP) fraud.

APP scams have been increasing during the Coronavirus crisis, with losses reaching almost half a billion pounds last year.

Many of the United Kingdom’s largest banks and building societies have now signed up a voluntary code, which is based on the idea or principle that blameless victims of bank funds transfer scams need to be reimbursed for any losses they incur.

But the companies have been hesitant when it comes to disclosing just how many clients they’ve actually refunded.

Barclays has notably become the first major institution to release figures, showing that it reimbursed nearly 75% of clients who became a victim to APP fraud during the first two months of 2021. TSB has not signed up to the code, however, it revealed that 99% of the victims have been refunded.

Figures shared by the Lending Standards Board, which is responsible for overseeing or monitoring the voluntary code, reveal that UK banking institutions only reimburse a small percentage of fraud victims. Between May 2019, when the code was first released, and July 2020, banks had determined that 77% of fraud victims were at least partially or fully to blame for any losses they may have incurred.

In the majority or 60% of such cases, clients have been found to be fully at fault, meaning they’re responsible for their losses. Victims have only been found to be blameless in 11% of all reported cases.

UK Finance (a trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector that represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services), Which? (an organization that reviews products and services, so that you “make the best purchase decisions” for your requirements) and City of London Police are among several other organizations that recently signed a letter asking the UK government to add online or Internet scams to its latest “Online Safety” bill.

UK Finance has shared an analysis of almost 7,000 authorized push payment (APP) scam incidents.

The analysis reveals that around 70% of such scams originated via online platforms — indicating that the Internet is playing a major role in enabling fraudulent activities.

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