Plans to protect people from payment scams confirmed

People tricked into transferring money directly to a fraudster should have stronger protections under plans from a regulator.

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has been looking into how best to protect people from authorised push payment (APP) scams.

It follows a "super complaint" from consumer group Which? over concerns that, unlike many other payment methods, victims conned into transferring money by bank transfer to a fraudster have no legal right to get their money back from their bank.

The PSR previously set out an action plan in December 2016.

In an update on Wednesday, it said an industry code will be in place from September, paving the way for victims of such scams to have better protection.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will be able to take the code into account when clearing up new complaints from consumers about these scams.

From September, the code will be publicly consulted on to be refined in early 2019 and the regulator expects that it will continue to evolve to ensure measures are kept up to date.

It said that, for victims of APP scams, this means they can be confident any claim for reimbursement will be given fairer consideration.

The PSR will also set up a steering group to prevent the scams happening and reduce their impact if they do happen.

Paul Smith, head of policy at the PSR, said: "The banks have already made some changes but, from September 2018, this industry code will see better protections available to everyone."

Which? previously said that in the first two weeks after launching an online scams reporting tool, more than 650 people told it about losing over £5.5 million in total to bank transfer scams.

Gareth Shaw, a Which? money expert, who welcomed the plans, added: "The industry must also use other measures to better protect consumers at the point of transfer to stop such scams happening in the first place."

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: "Tackling fraud and scams is the number one priority for the finance industry, and we successfully prevent more than £6 in £10 of attempted fraud.

"We have also introduced new standards on how banks respond to victims of authorised transfer scams.

"However, we know there is always more to do, which is why we are working with the Joint Fraud Taskforce to deter and disrupt criminals and better trace, freeze and return stolen funds."