IT'S emerged that UK banks have failed to return more than £100million stolen from customers by scammers.
New figures show that a total of £249.1million was taken by crooks tricking customers into bank transfer scams.
But only £140.1million – or 56% – was returned to victims, data from UK Finance shows.
Bank transfer scams – known as authorised push payment fraud – is where customers are scammed into authorising a payment to a criminal.
Whether or not you can get a refund if you have been a victim of an authorised push payment scam will vary.
In 2019 some banks, including Barclays, Santander and HSBC, signed a scam code agreeing to voluntarily reimburse victims of these scams.
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Banks don't have to sign up to the code – which means many customers have lost thousands without being reimbursed.
Over 95,219 people were tricked into handing over their cash as part of a bank transfer scam in the first half of this year.
It has become increasingly common since the pandemic, as more people shop online.
These types of scams include tricksters pretending to be the taxman, the police, or a bank manager, persuading you to handover your money as part of a very convincing fraud.
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Although there has been a 42% increase in the amount returned to victims by banks compared to the previous comparable period last year, it still means many victims are still being refused refunds.
UK Finance managing director Katy Worobec said: "As we have warned previously, the level of fraud in the UK is such that it must be considered a national security threat."
What are my rights if I'm scammed?
If you think you have been a victim of a scam, you should report it as soon as possible.
There is no guarantee you'll get your money back, but banks will often compensate you if you can show you did not know money would leave your account.
You can forward scam emails to [email protected] and should also contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud, which will give you a crime reference number.
Check if your bank is signed up to the voluntary APP code, which indicates it has pledged to reimburse customers that have been tricked into sending money to scammers.
If your bank is signed up and refuses to refund you, you can complain and ask it why it is not abiding by the code.
You may be able to report the case to the Financial Ombudsman, which could order your bank to compensate you.
How to spot the signs of a scam
There are several red flags to keep an eye out for if you think you're being scammed.
When making a purchase, be suspicious of any requests to pay by bank transfer or virtual currency instead of safer methods, such as credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.
You shouldn’t assume the caller is genuine just because they’re able to provide some basic details about you.
Don’t pay for goods or services unless you know and trust the individual or business.
If you're being pressured into transferring your money – for example, if someone has rang you up pretending to be from your bank, telling you your account is being hacked – be wary.
Put the phone down and ring up your bank through your mobile banking app or using the number on the back of your card.
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