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Santander customers warned about circumventing Facebook Marketplace scam prevention measures

Santander customers warned about circumventing Facebook Marketplace scam prevention measures

Santander has found that come customers are circumventing new measures to stop bank transfers for Facebook Marketplace payments in cases where a customer has not seen the item in person.

The bank says that new fraud protection measures introduced  before Christmas have helped stop over 1,800 customers from potentially falling victim to a purchase scam.

The new rules were introduced after Santander customers reported nearly £6.5 million in losses last year to Facebook Marketplace scams, an increase of almost 50% over the previous year.

The dynamic fraud warnings on mobile and online banking mean customers transferring money via mobile or online banking to purchase an item on Facebook Marketplace are asked a series of tailored questions about their purchase. If customers have not seen the item in person to ensure the item is genuine, the transaction is stopped by the bank, and they are encouraged to either see the item in person or use a more secure payment method, like a debit or credit card.

Between 5 December 2023 and 13 May 2024, Santander prevented 1,899 customers from proceeding with their Facebook Marketplace purchase, after customers admitted to not having seen the item in person that they were attempting to buy.

However, 7,950 customers were initially prevented from making a payment, but then subsequently confirmed that they had seen the item in person, meaning the payment was made. Of this group, 240 customers then went on to report that they had fallen victim to a purchase scam.

During this period, 439 people in total fell victim to a scam on Facebook Marketplace, losing a total of £284,000, an average of £647 per person. Of the 439 customers who fell victim to a scam, 263 were customers who changed their answer.

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander says: “Fraudsters can be incredibly manipulative. The fact that in just a few months hundreds of customers felt the need to attempt to sidestep our fraud prevention measures by changing their answer so they could proceed with the purchase, goes to show the level of pressure that these criminals are placing on unsuspecting victims.

“If you’re buying something on Facebook Marketplace or another online selling platform and haven’t seen the item in person, are being pressured into making a payment through a bank transfer, or are told to lie to your bank about the purchase, then beware. These are telltale signs of a purchase scam.”

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