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The United Kingdom’s Commons Treasury Committee submitted a report giving recommendations to help victims of a money transfer scam.
In the first six months of 2019, bank customers in the United Kingdom lost £207.5 million to authorized push payment, a scam that has been going on in the country since 2016. Perpetrators of this scam impersonate authorities or people the victims previously transacted with. Then, they send fake invoices to trick the account owners to transfer money from personal bank accounts to an account controlled by the criminals. The money transfer is instant, and since victims themselves authorize the transfer, the money lost is usually not refunded by banks.
After learning how much the scam affected victims, the committee found the banks guilty of failing to protect their customers. According to the committee, the banks neglected to check if account names corresponded to the correct account numbers during payments. As a result, perpetrators have taken advantage of this weakness.
To address the problem, a code of conduct created to reimburse scam victims was put into effect. However, only customers who took steps to avoid being tricked but were nonetheless scammed would be refunded. Some of the steps customers should have undertaken to qualify for a refund include heeding bank warnings and not sharing security credentials carelessly.
Additionally, authorities recommend that banks impose a 24-hour delay on money transfers to give customers time to reconsider their decisions. They also want a more active role from banks in educating customers about the risks of becoming victims of the scam.