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Refund scheme for money transfer victims to be launched

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Victims of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams will be better protected later this year as a uniform refund scheme is launched.

These APP scams are made when people are tricked into authorising a transfer of money from their account to another account which they believe belongs to a legitimate payee – most transfers are completed instantly.

But for victims, it has been much slower, and harder to get their money back.

Over £100m was lost to nearly 20,000 transfer scams in the first half of 2017 with an average loss of £3,027 for consumers and £21,477 for businesses. However financial providers have returned just a quarter – £25.2m, showing the need for the industry to do more.

As such, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has today announced a steering group will be set up to design a standardised reimbursement model to clarify the circumstances where victims can receive their money back.

The industry code will be in place from September 2018, which the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can use to consider and determine complaints about APP scams.

The PSR said the rules will be refined in early 2019 to ensure they’re working properly, and the new code should mean “consumers can be confident any claim for reimbursement will be given fairer consideration”.

Paul Smith, head of policy at the PSR, said: “This is about making a positive difference for people to protect them from APP scams. The banks have already made some changes but, from September 2018, this industry code will see better protections available to everyone. We expect the code to evolve over time to make sure methods of preventing APP scams are up-to-date.

“By creating this steering group, we are bringing the right people together to put protections in place to prevent APP scams from happening, and reduce their impact when they do happen.”

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said tackling fraud and scams is the number one priority for the finance industry, and more than £6 in £10 of attempted fraud has been prevented.

“We have also introduced new standards on how banks respond to victims of authorised transfer scams. However we know there is always more to do, which is why we are working with the Joint Fraud Taskforce to deter and disrupt criminals and better trace, freeze and return stolen funds.

“This is a complex piece of work, with a challenging timeline, that we need to get right. As secretariat for the PSR’s new steering group, and alongside the independent Chair, consumer groups and the broader payments industry, we will support the development of its proposals for a code.”

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