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Banks trial emergency hotline for APP fraud

Banks trial emergency hotline for APP fraud

UK banks are to establish an emergency hotline to protect customers from APP fraudsters posing as bank staff.

Running as a one-year pilot trial, the 159 hotline is supported by Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander and Starling Bank, covering 70% of all UK primary account holders.

Operated by bank and telco-funded body Stop Scams UK, the roll call of organisations involved also include the majority of the UK's main telecommns networks.

The move comes amid rising panic about an epidemic of authorised push payments fraud, in which customers are tricked into revealing security details by scammers posing as authority figures. The latest figues from UK Finance show losses to APP fraud topped card fraud for the first time in H1 2021.

The banking industry body recorded a 71% increase in APP fraud to £355.3 million during the first half of 2021, compared to £261.7 million in losses from card crime.

"If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal detail…stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank," states Stop Scams UK. "159 is the memorable, secure number that contacts you directly to your bank if you think you’re being scammed. 159 works in the same way as 101 for the police or 111 for the NHS. It’s the number you can trust to get you through to your bank, every time."

If the pilot proves successful, Stop Scams UK says it will roll out 159 as a universal number available on all phones and for all banks.

Comments: (1)

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 29 September, 2021, 10:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

First off, push fraud is where i use my own bank credential and make a payment to someone presenting themsevels as something else (like a company etc etc) - it is not giving away my login credentials. Thats phishing and social engineering. 

This concept of calling 159 sounds ok, but most people are tricked - thats the point, they have been tricked. So why would they be hanging up and then calling 159. The people that will be calling the number will be those that aren't being tricked. So how will this move the needle signficiantly in the fight against con artists. 

I am constantly amazed that banks and the entire industry don't opt to address this issue properly. Year after year we see this fraud rise and the solutions to date are at best a token gesture. Confirmation of Payee!? Wow really. And now this?

It is time start tackling this issue properly. Fraud should be paid for by the receiving bank, simple as that. That is step 1, step 2 is to acknowledge that the entire problem is one of a verifiable identity. Well that is solved and will be available in weeks to banks and the industry if they wish to embrace it! 

I wrote on this only a few days ago because until we acknowledge the way criminals are working, acknowledge how smart they are all we will continue to do is provide token gestures which at best slow them down for a few weeks...

Let’s finally address push payment fraud – FinTechAndrew – The blog (wordpress.com)