The UK’s high street banks have been called out for “shockingly low” reimbursement rates for Authorized Push Payment (APP) fraud.

APP fraud is an increasingly popular type of scam in which the fraudster — posing as a trusted entity such as a family member or business — tricks the victim into transferring money to a bank account under their control. It cost an estimated £479m in 2020.

Until a voluntary banking code of conduct was recently introduced, victims had no course to reclaim funds because they technically initiated the payment.

When the code was rolled out 14 months ago — in combination with pop-up warnings online if payee names and account details don’t match — it was hoped things would change.

However, that doesn’t appear to have been the case, according to consumer rights group Which?.

“Banks found victims at least partly responsible for their losses in 77% of cases assessed in the first 14 months of the code. Two banks found the customer fully liable in more than nine in 10 decisions,” it noted, citing official figures.

“Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) data indicates that banks are getting most of these decisions wrong: 73% of complaints about APP fraud were upheld in favour of consumers in 2020-21.”

Which? argued that scammers have an increasingly formidable array of tools and techniques at their disposal to trick victims into making payments. These include number spoofing, hijacking email accounts via…

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