UK FCA Says Firms Should Strengthen Anti-Fraud Systems, Must Treat Victims of Fraud Better

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says it is working with payment service providers to do more “to protect consumers from fraud, including authorized push payment (APP) fraud.”

While FCA‘s review of firms’ fraud controls and complaint handling found examples of good practice, they were also “disappointed with the way some firms supported customers who were the victims of fraud.”

In the first six months of 2023 over 116,000 people “reported falling victim to APP fraud (UK Finance 2023 Half Year Fraud Update), where someone is tricked into sending money to a fraudster posing as a genuine payee.”

With more people potentially vulnerable due to cost-of-living pressures, and fraud methods evolving, it is critical that firms continually “evaluate their approach and have robust frameworks in place to detect fraud, as well as effective support for victims when it happens.”

The FCA’s review reportedly found:

  • Firms can do more to strengthen their systems designed to detect and prevent fraud.
  • There is not enough focus on delivering good consumer outcomes in many firms.
  • Some firms could do more to improve the support they offer to victims of fraud.
  • Poor complaint handling, including firms often taking too long to respond. Customers were provided with decision letters that were sometimes unclear, confusing, or included unhelpful and, on occasion, accusatory language.
  • Firms are not fully considering characteristics of customer vulnerability when making decisions about fraud claims and complaints.

The FCA says it is already working with firms in their review “to strengthen their approach.”

The FCA says that it expects all payment service providers to use their findings “to inform what more they can do to detect, manage and reduce fraud and losses more effectively.”

Customer treatment must also “be improved, including how complaints are handled, to deliver consistently good consumer outcomes in line with the Consumer Duty.”

Firms should also consider the findings from their recent publication Proceeds of fraud – Detecting and preventing money mules, which “reviewed payment account providers’ systems and controls against money mules accounts.”

Fighting financial crime is “a key priority in their strategy and we have a number of tools to tackle it, including; being tough at the gateway, taking assertive supervision and enforcement actions and communicating directly with consumers through our ScamSmart campaign to warn them of the risks of fraud.”

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