- Less than half of victims of bank transfer scams get their money back
- With just one out of 700 scams, miscreants got impunity
- It was revealed this week that only 2% of police forces are devoted to fraud
- Campaigners are calling for stricter laws to force banks to do the right thing
Starting Saturday, MoneyMail has shared advice to help protect your savings from scammers.
But as fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated, it’s inevitable that some people will still fall victim and lose life-changing sums of money.
The good news is that there are rules in place to ensure that the vast majority get their money back. The bad news is that many banks will still try to shy away from paying refunds.
Fight Back: There are rules in place to ensure that most fraud victims get their money back, but many banks won’t leave it without a fight
In fact, less than half of the victims of bank transfer scams are reimbursed by fraudsters into making payments.
Campaigners are demanding stricter laws to compel banks to do the right thing by their customers.
And ministers and police are under increasing pressure to do more to control the fraud epidemic as it is just one of 700 scams that have resulted in convictions. Yesterday, it was revealed that only 2 percent of police forces are devoted to fraud.
In the meantime, it’s up to you to fight your corner. To help you out, here’s MoneyMail’s ultimate guide to winning a fraud refund.
stolen card information
There are two types of fraud – unauthorized and authorized. And the refund rules are different for each.
Unauthorized fraud includes any payment that you have not made yourself. This can include purchases made by crooks online using stolen credit card details or cash withdrawals when you have your PIN on hand.
Known as the Payment Services Regulation, banks must refund victims of unauthorized fraud in full, unless they are grossly negligent.
The Financial Ombudsman Service, which handles disputes between clients and financial firms, sets a high standard of what would be considered negligence.
This casually goes a long way and may involve keeping your PIN written in your purse next to your card.
So while customers lost £398.6 million from unauthorized fraud in the first six months of this year, industry analysis shows that banks returned victims in more than 98 percent of cases.
If you are refused a refund of your money, you can complain to the Ombudsman. Of the 506 cases resolved in the last 12 months, 89 percent were justified in favor of the client.
Call 0800 023 4567 or fill out the online form (financial-ombudsman.org.uk/contact-us/complain-online/), which takes approximately 30 minutes.
I won back £15k I lost from a bank cone
William Ballard was duped of £15,000 by a swindler claiming to be from his bank
William Ballard successfully fought for a refund from his bank after losing £15,000 to fraudsters in August last year.
He was called by a swindler claiming to be from his bank NatWest, who said his card had been misused and that his account was in danger.
William of Buckinghamshire was told to put his money in a secure account to keep it safe. But when he did as instructed, the fraudster failed to call back as promised.
Realizing that something was amiss, William reported the call to NatWest. The bank said he was the victim of a scam, but warned that his money was unlikely to be returned.
William says: ‘I appealed and went through the complaint process and the bank still said no.’
But he took his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service in December. They argued that the bank not returning them was wrong as they had not committed gross negligence.
But before the Ombudsman could rule, NatWest agreed to return the money lost. William says: ‘I thought the initial reaction of the bank was disgusting. I have been a customer for 60 years.
A NatWest spokesperson says: ‘Keeping our customers safe is of paramount importance to us. Bank will never ask you to transfer money to a secured account and if asked to do so, immediately stop the call and contact the bank directly on a trusted number.
bank transfer trickster
Authorized fraud – also known as a push payment scam – is where you are tricked into paying yourself by crooks.
Sophisticated thieves usually masquerade as credible officials like banks, police, HMRC and telecom firms.
They can call from a fake telephone number that appears to match the organization’s real phone line.
And they know all kinds of personal information about their victim that they have cobbled together by trapping social media websites and hacking other accounts.
After gaining your trust, they will then formulate a credible reason for the transfer.
Fake bank employees may claim that there have been suspicious transactions in your account and ask you to transfer your savings to a ‘secured account’.
Or fake HMRC officials may threaten you with a fine or jail for an alleged unpaid tax bill.
For years, banks siphoned off defrauded customers to pay fraudsters on the grounds that the victims had authorized the payments.
But, in May 2019, rules were introduced to ensure that victims of this type of fraud are returned.
Campaigners hoped that if banks were responsible for making repayments, they would have more incentive to invest in systems that could prevent fraud from occurring in the first place. But the code of conduct is still only voluntary.
And only the largest banks and building societies have signed up, including Barclays, The Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyd’s, Metro Bank, Nationwide, NatWest, Santander and Starling Bank. Will be a member of Virgin Money Code until next summer.
Confidence Trick: Authorized Fraudsters posing as trusted officials like Banks, Police, HMRC and Telecom Firms, trick you to deceive…