Banks are failing to protect customers from bank transfer fraud despite regulatory calls for action, consumer group Which? has warned.

As the number of bank transfer scam victims - where the customer is tricked into agreeing to send a large sum, often thousands of pounds, to a fraudulent account - continues to rise, Which? claimed there was little evidence banks had responded to an earlier call from regulator the Payment Services Regulator (PSR) to do more to protect consumers.

Its new research found:

  • More than half (54%) of people surveyed who had lost money to bank transfer scams were victims in the last six months
  • More than a third (37%) of those who lost out didn’t get any money back
  • Four in ten (41%) of those defrauded lost between £1,001 and £10,000
  • 50% lost up to £1,000, 6% lost £10,001 or more

Which? wants the next government to take tough action bank transfer fraud where consumers have no legal rights to get their money back from their bank.

Martin Lewis
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Super-complaint

Its new findings come eight months after Which? made a super-complaint to the PSR demanding more action be taken by banks to better protect customers from bank transfer scams. The PSR's response to the Which? complaint made clear banks had to do more to look after customers.

But after what it calls a “lack of action” from banks in heeding the PSR warning to do more, Which? is now writing to banks today requesting them to outline what action they are taking to safeguard customers from bank transfer scams.

Banks still failing to protect customers from losing 'life-changing sums' to fraudsters, consumer body claims
Banks still failing to protect customers from losing 'life-changing sums' to fraudsters, consumer body claims

Gareth Shaw, spokesman 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.”

A spokesman for Financial Fraud Action UK, which coordinates the banks' anti-fraud strategy, said: "We have agreed a clear action plan with the regulator on 'push payment' fraud and the industry is working hard to deliver this to the agreed timetable.'

The PSR is due to publish a full report into bank transfer fraud early in September.