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One-third of scams that hit TSB are impersonation fraud

TSB reports an increase in fraudsters impersonating trusted organisations to trick consumers into making payments to them

Impersonation fraud has made up one-third (33%) of scam cases among TSB’s customers since the start of this year, according to the bank.

Last year, the scams – in which fraudsters pretend to be a trusted organisation or individual to trick people into making payments to them – accounted for 52% of transactions made to fraudsters by TSB customers. Such frauds bypass bank security systems because it is genuine customers who are making the transactions.

As part of its Tackling fraud together report, TSB released details of the organisations that fraudsters are impersonating to commit frauds, which cost an average of £4,000 per case across the banking industry.

According to TSB analysis, more than half (55%) of impersonation scams occurred when fraudsters claimed to be a bank, 13% impersonated a public authority such as the police, 9% tricked customers under the guise of a phone or internet provider, 8% said they were delivery companies, and 8% claimed to be Amazon. 

Figures from banking trade body UK Finance revealed that more than £2bn worth of fraud cases were reported to Action Fraud in under a year, with impersonation fraud cases increasing by over 300%. 

Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, said: “Households are bombarded with scam calls, texts and emails every day. We are urging them to remain suspicious of any unsolicited contact, to avoid falling victim to fraud at a time when the impact would be hardest felt. 

“We continue to be the only bank to protect customers from fraud losses, through our fraud refund guarantee, which is as important now as it has ever been to the lives of our customers.”

Meanwhile, authorised push payment (APP) fraud, also known as bank transfer fraud, in which criminals use fake websites and emails to trick consumers into authorising payments to them, is also on the rise.

According to UK Finance, it increased rapidly last year, growing 70% in the first six months and reaching a value of £355m.

Banking systems have automated security checks on suspicious activity, making it more difficult for criminals to steal money. Because of this, they are targeting human weaknesses through APP scams using phone calls, emails, text messages, fake websites and social media posts to trick people into handing over their personal data, before conning them into authorising payments.

Phil Andrew, CEO at debt charity StepChange, said: “In tough times, fraud and financial difficulty go hand in hand. The pandemic has left many households with little or no ability to cope with financial shocks and, as cost-of-living increases start to bite, it is vital that consumers are protected from those seeking to exploit financial and other vulnerabilities.  

“People who have lost money to fraudsters need quick and effective help and support, so it is particularly welcome to see refund support offered to victims of fraud.” 

Read more about authorised push payment fraud

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