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'We lost £300,000 through payment scam'


“Good progress” has been made on protecting consumers from authorised push payment (APP) scams – where people are tricked into sending money to a fraudster – a regulator has said. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said progress was being made “across a wide range of initiatives”.In the first half of this year, 19,000 victims lost £100m. One such, Kate Blakeley, described the “sheer horror” of discovering the loss of almost £300,000 through such a scam. Ms Blakeley, who was in the process of buying a house with her partner, described her experience.”Everything had gone very smoothly,” she said. “Our conveyancing solicitor provided details by email of the bank accounts to make the money transfers on the day of completion.”We transferred just under £300,000 on the day and within about three hours, we realised the money had gone missing. “The moment of realising the money hadn’t arrived as intended with the bank account we sent it to, or thought we’d sent it to, was just sheer horror.”The PSR said it was now looking into the best way to compensate victims and hoped a system would be in place by September 2018.It said that APP scams were crimes that could have a devastating effect.’No silver bullet’As well as starting to record and understand the scale of APP scams, the PSR will also introduce new standards that banks will have to follow when a victim reports such a scam, which should improve victims’ experience and banks’ response times.However, PSR managing director Hannah Nixon warned that not every scam could be prevented.”There is no silver bullet for APP scams, and some people will still, unfortunately, lose out,” she said.”That’s why we’ve continued to look for a solution that could reimburse those who are scammed, and today we begin consulting on an option that we think could work.”She added that account holders also needed to take “an appropriate level of care” in protecting themselves.The PSR’s report follows a super-complaint by Which? that highlighted the problem.That prompted an initial review, published in 2016, which found there was insufficient information about the scale of the problem.The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reviewed the way banks handle APP scams. It found banks’ procedures were inconsistent, their existing fraud detection systems could not easily detect APP scams, and they did not collect enough data. The FCA considers the industry initiatives underway will help to tackle these issues.Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive, said: “It’s good to see the regulator coming down on the side of consumers. If this stops the huge amounts of money lost to bank transfer scams, it’ll be a significant win.”
Source: BBC Regional