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Which? calls for Government action on APP fraud as losses spiral

Which? calls for Government action on APP fraud as losses spiral

Consumer watchdog Which? is calling on the Government to force all banks to adopt Confirmation of Payee, as new figures show over £1 billion has been lost to authorised push payment (APP) scams over the past three years.

Which? says banks have been lagging in implementing anti-fraud measures and inreimbursing customers who fall victim to APP fraud, in which users are duped into transferring funds to bogus accounts.

Confirmation of Payee is set to be introduced by the UK's six major banks by 31 March. CoP ensures that a check is made on whether or not the name a customer enters when making a payment matches the account details it is being sent to.

So far, however, only Bank of Scotland has gone live with the programme. Bank of Scotland parent Lloyds Banking Group and Halifax will follow, while Barclays has informed customers that it will be implementing the scheme at the end of the month.

Upon questioning, Which's says that RBS Group (including Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank) and HSBC (including First Direct) were unable to confirm a specific date when asked if they would be ready by the regulator’s deadline.

Of the banks that haven’t been directed to sign up by the regulator, several have said that they plan to deliver the system by the end of the year.

However, Metro Bank told Which? that it has no current plans to implement CoP at all - despite this being a requirement of the voluntary industry code on APP scams launched in May 2019, which Metro Bank signed up to. It did not elaborate on why it is does not intend to introduce CoP, but says the voluntary code gives customers significantly increased protection against authorised push payment scams.

Which? believes the code and CoP should be made mandatory and that the government must consider directing the PSR to ensure all banks are signed up.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, says: “At the end of this month, we should get a true sense of how well the industry is tackling the issue. It is vital for all banks to commit to basic name-check security, and the whole industry should sign up and follow through on the protections offered by the scams code.

“If the banks fall short of making these commitments themselves, these initiatives must be made mandatory by the government.”

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