Number dedicated to victims of fraud launched in a context of threat to national security
People targeted by fraudsters who try to trick them into transferring money to them can now call 159 to be directly linked to their bank for help.
Stop Scams UK and the Global Cyber Alliance have launched a 12-month pilot where customers who suspect attempted fraud can call 159 and be contacted with their bank, much like 101 connects people to the police . If the pilot is successful, Stop Scams will ask regulators to make the number permanent.
Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Starling Bank and Ulster Bank initially participate.
The amount stolen in the UK by fraudsters tricking people into authorizing payments, thereby passing bank computer security checks, has reached worrying highs. According to UK Finance, £ 754million has been lost to fraudsters in the first six months of this year, a 30% increase from last year. The financial services trade body has described this as being at a level where it poses a threat to national security.
Almost half of the total, £ 355million, was stolen by criminals via Authorized push payment scams (APP), which sees fraudsters using someone’s personal information to trick them into emailing, texting, or calling them to transfer money.
This type of fraud, which bypasses security checks in bank IT systems by tricking the customer into approving payments, accounts for more money stolen than card fraud when criminals take money without authorization.
According to a global survey of 10,000 people by Opinium for fraud prevention software company Callsign, in the past 12 months, three-quarters of consumers have received fraudulent emails, while 66% have been sent by SMS, 58% by phone and 15% via messaging applications.
Ruth Evans, President of Stop Scams UK, said: “If you ever feel pressured to transfer money or give out personal information, you should hang up and call 159 to verify that it is real.
“Criminals rely on forcing people to make decisions in the heat of the moment, and calling 159 is a simple and convenient tool to break their spell.”
UK Finance Chief Financial Officer Katy Worobec recently said the banking and finance industry is investing billions in advanced systems to try to prevent fraud, but criminals are exploiting weaknesses beyond their control banks to encourage customers to make payments. directly to them.
UK Finance called for coordinated action and increased efforts by government and other sectors to tackle what is now a threat to national security.
Worobec added, “Criminals continue to target customers with various scams, often through online platforms, and it is only through coordinated action that we can make real progress in solving the problem. “
Earlier this year, Anne Boden, CEO of digital challenger Starling Bank, which is part of the Stop Scams pilot project, called for cooperation between different sectors to tackle APP fraud.
In a blog post, Boden said other industries need to take some responsibility for APP scams, especially social media platforms. “Banks are investing billions of pounds in the fight against economic crime, but we cannot stop it on our own. “