Some UK banks are providing insufficient help to customers who fall victim to financial scams, leaving them at risk of losing more money in recovery fraud, according to consumer rights’ organisation Which?

In its survey of 432 victims of fraud or attempted fraud in May, a third (32%) told Which? they were not offered advice or resources by their banks on staying safe. 

Also, 15% said they waited longer than 30 minutes to speak to someone on a bank’s helpline with one customer waiting seven hours with a £50 phone bill at the end of it.

Another reported having to call many times about fraudulent transactions before their bank acted. 

Which? also cautioned victims to stay alert when trying to retrieve their money because the same fraudster or their associates could re-contact them, offering to get money back for a fee.

There were 2,096 incidents of recovery fraud reported to Action Fraud in the year to last March, with the average loss being £14,408 ($20,000, €16,900). 

Which? added just 5% of respondents were dissatisfied with their bank’s response when they tried to report fraud. 

“But with the [Office of National Satistics] estimating that there were 4.6m fraud offences in the year to March 2021, a significant number of victims could be falling through the cracks – with significant consequences.”

Which? is calling for the voluntary code on bank transfer scams to be replaced with a mandatory reimbursement scheme, which will include stronger protections against bank transfer fraud and tough enforcement against companies which break the rules. 

Bank industry body UK Finance said: “We firmly believe that a regulated code, backed by legislation, is the most effective answer so that consumer protections apply consistently across the banking industry,” the Guardian newspaper reported.

“It’s vital that the government and regulators acknowledge how vulnerabilities in other sectors such as telecoms and online platforms are facilitating these crimes and consider an overall strategy to protect consumers from fraud.”


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