MSE News

£2.75m a day stolen by fraudsters

Scammers stole more than £500 million from UK bank customers in the first half of 2018, the equivalent of around £2.75 million a day.

A total of £145 million of that was lost through authorised push payment (APP) scams, where people are tricked into authorising a payment to another account, trade body UK Finance said.

A further £358 million was lost due to unauthorised fraud, where the transaction is carried out by a third party and is not authorised by the account holder.

But UK Finance says during the same period, the finance industry prevented almost £706 million of unauthorised fraud, equivalent to saving £2 in every £3 of attempted unauthorised fraud.

In most cases, victims of unauthorised fraud receive a full refund of the cash they lose, but if a customer authorises the payment themselves, current legislation means that they have no legal protection to cover them for losses.

As scams get clever, we need to too, so see 30+ Ways to Stop Scams.

How do authorised push payment scams work?

The most prevalent type of APP scams – accounting for almost two-thirds of reported cases in the first six months of the year – were purchase scams, where victims pay in advance for a product or service, such as a car or a holiday rental, which is not received or does not exist.

This type of fraud often takes place online – for example through auction websites or social media.

There were also 3,866 reported cases of impersonation scams, where the criminal claims to be from the police, bank or another organisation in order to trick the victim into transferring money.

The nature of these scams means victims are often persuaded to transfer significant sums of money, with the average loss in police and bank impersonation fraud amounting to £11,402.

How can I protect myself from scams?

Back in June, MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis wrote a blog explaining how you can teach yourself scam self-defence.

Some top tips in the blog are:

1. Never give personal details if you receive a text or email asking for them. 

2. Don't fall for fake deals on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media.

3. Ensure you've antivirus software installed on your computer.

4. Protect yourself by paying on debit or credit card.

See Martin's blog for full details.

What does the finance industry say?

UK Finance managing director of economic crime Katy Worobec said: "The finance industry is committed to fighting back, investing millions in security systems and cyber defences to protect customers.

"We have brought in new standards to ensure scam victims get the help they need from their payments provider. We are supporting law enforcement in disrupting the criminals and freezing stolen money, and we are assisting the Government in improving intelligence sharing to extinguish the threat."