UK banking customers at risk as scammers steal half-a-billion pounds

cybercrime claims

Financial data breaches are on the rise. In fact, retail banking saw 2400% more data breach reports last year than the year before, with a whopping £500m stolen from British banking customers in the first six months alone.

Push payment scams

Millions is being lost due to authorised push payment (APP) scams. A push payment scam happens when a cybercriminal tricks someone into sending them money online.

Typical push payment scams include:

  • Sending falsified invoices that look exactly like ones victims are expecting (e.g. from a child’s school or a legitimate tradesperson)
  • Convincing people to transfer money to someone official, such as a solicitor (e.g. when buying a house)
  • Impersonation scams where cybercriminals pretended to be from a trusted body (e.g. a bank or the police) to trick account holders into transferring money
  • Conning people to transfer cash into fraudulent bank accounts
  • Sending emails pretending to be from a friend asking for money.

Ultimately, the aim is to trick you into thinking you are making a payment to someone you can trust (e.g. bank staff or lawyers).

Bank/credit card takeover fraud

Takeover fraud happens when a criminal uses another person’s account information (e.g. a credit card number) to buy products and services.

Takeover fraud is also used by scammers to extract funds from a person’s bank account. Because the financial institution believes the fraudster to be genuine, they authorise the handover of cash.

How to protect yourself from financial fraud

UK Finance offers the following advice:

  • Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
  • Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic
  • Don’t be rushed – a genuine organisation won’t mind waiting
  • Listen to your instincts – you know if something doesn’t feel right
  • Stay in control – don’t panic and make a decision you’ll regret.

There are also some security measures you should take after a financial data breach to stop yourself from falling victim to further crime. These include:

  • Contacting your bank/credit card provider immediately
  • Freezing your card right away (via your banking app if available)
  • Changing your passwords and other security details
  • Implementing a credit freeze until the matter is resolved
  • Keeping an eye on your bank and credit card statements to see if there is anything you don’t recognise (and reporting these to your financial provider immediately)
  • Letting the credit reference agencies know of any activity that was not down to you
  • Registering with the Cifas protective registration service. This will slow down credit applications made in your name with additional verification checks made to ascertain that the applicant is actually you.

 Can victims of bank fraud get their money back?

According to a spokesperson from consumer group Which? the banks’ efforts to tackle fraud has been “woefully insufficient”. He said: “They have not done enough to protect their customers, who continue to lose life-changing sums of money to ever-more sophisticated crooks”.

While unauthorised fraud victims are usually refunded by their banks, until now, most victims of push-payment scams do not get their money back.

However, the industry has recently introduced new safeguards to help victims of push payment scams to secure compensation as well as a new industry code designed to minimise the number of scams by encouraging consumers to remain vigilant.

This means that victims of push payment fraud can be confident that any claim for reimbursement will be given fairer and quicker consideration.

In fact, your bank can only refuse to reimburse stolen funds where you have shown a very significant degree of carelessness.

Crucially, banks should not automatically blame the victims of increasingly sophisticated scams and must take a fairer approach to compensation. Where a bank still refuses compensation, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Get legal help making a cybercrime claim

If you want to claim compensation following a push payment (or any other form of cyber-scam or bank fraud), Hayes Connor can help.

Our professional, friendly team will be pleased to answer any questions you might have, and advise you on whether you have a valid claim.

If you have a straightforward case, our quick claims form will help you to start this quickly and easily. This means you receive your compensation in the shortest possible time. However, if we believe you have a large, complex case, we’ll go through your options and may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors we make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible in the shortest possible time. However, with strict time limits in place for making a cybercrime claim, it’s essential to act now.



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  1. […] In 2018, seven UK retail banks, including Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Tesco Bank suffered sustained attacks. These attacks cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds. Furthermore, over £500m was stolen from British banking customers in the first half of 2018. […]

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