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Bank transfer fraud victims to get refunds under new code | Business News

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Bank account holders who are tricked into transferring money to fraudsters could be entitled to reimbursement under a new voluntary industry code coming into force from today.

The code is designed to see victims getting money back in cases where neither they nor the bank has done anything wrong – though customers will have to have met “standards expected of them”.

That means they could be denied reimbursement if they have been negligent – for example by ignoring warnings or if they are an organisation that has failed to follow its own procedures.

So-called Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams cost £354.3m last year according to trade body UK Finance, with £228.4m lost to consumers and £126m to non-personal or business account holders.

In total there were 84,624 cases, with 78,215 related to personal accounts.

Consumer group Which? estimates that £674 is typically lost to the crime every minute.

Typical scams that have been reported include homebuyers being tricked into sending the deposit on their homes to fraudsters instead of their solicitors’ accounts.

Unlike victims of other types of fraud such as credit or debit card scams, those involved in these cases have not until now been entitled to any reimbursement.

But a number of banks have now signed up to a code of practice to reimburse victims and agreed to fund the scheme on an interim basis until January when longer-term funding arrangements are put in place.

Lenders who wrote the new rules including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Metro Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland were among the initial signatories to the agreement ahead of its 28 May launch date with others expected to follow.

Separate measures being taken to combat APP scams also include a name-checking service called “confirmation of payee”.

This works by making sure that the name of the person being sent money matches the name entered by the person paying.

Customers paying the money will be alerted if there is not a match, before any such transfer takes place.

The Payment Systems Regulator has proposed that the UK’s six biggest banking groups, which are involved in about 90% of bank transfers, fully put the confirmation of payee measures in place by 31 March 2020.

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