Call for banks to reveal refund rates in transfer fraud

Banks urged to come clean over how often they reimburse customers who fall victim to money transfer scams

Banks are being urged to come clean about how often they reimburse customers who fall victim to money transfer scams. 

Nearly 150,000 customers lost savings to bank transfer scams last year. Many lost life-changing sums. But while some were fully reimbursed, others received nothing. 

Today, Which? is giving banks until Friday to reveal their reimbursement rates. The consumer watchdog believes that as long as banks keep quiet about these figures, customers will continue to be treated unfairly and inconsistently. 

Victims: Nearly 150,000 customers lost savings to bank transfer scams last year – many lost life-changing sums

Bank transfer scams – also known as Authorised Push Payment scams – are when a bank customer hands over their savings because a fraudster has tricked them into believing they are switching money to a trusted organisation, such as the police, a Government body or their bank. 

They often rely on people being law-abiding and wanting to do the right thing by convincing them they are helping to tackle crime. 

Friday marks the two-year anniversary of a voluntary code of conduct agreed by banks and designed to stamp out this type of scam. 

The code states that blameless victims should be reimbursed. 

However, in cases seen by The Mail on Sunday, some victims are being fully reimbursed while others do not receive a penny. 

Earlier this month, Barclays said it had reimbursed 74 per cent of fraud victims in the first two months of the year. It is the only bank to release details so far. 

Banking body UK Finance says that 47 per cent of all losses last year were reimbursed.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, says: ‘A total lack of transparency in how firms deal with victims of bank transfer scams has led to many people being treated unfairly and inconsistently. The chances of getting your money back is a lottery.’ 

He adds: ‘We have asked banks to commit to publishing reimbursement rates. This should be a first step in an effort by the industry to give information on how banks protect their customers against fraud.’ 

The Payment Systems Regulator is also looking at forcing banks to disclose their reimbursement figures if they do not publish them voluntarily.