Transfer fraud is an increasingly frequent problem which is leaving too many people with nothing, as the extorting, anonymous criminals gain access to people’s bank accounts.
Often referred to by banks as ‘push payment scams’, transfer fraud usually involves the victim being misled over the phone or by means of email interception into making payments to criminals.
Banks involved claim no liability, because the victim authorised the payment themselves.
A mother and daughter from Kent were recently targeted by such fraudsters.
Nikki and Jill Douthwaite were horrified when they realised they’d sent £113,665 to a criminal. They were under the impression that they were sending the money to a solicitor who was dealing with their home purchase.
Having now lost their life savings of £114,000, Nikki and Jill (along with their six cats and two dogs) are staying with their friends as they cannot buy the £182,000 bungalow they were planning on moving into in Cambridgeshire.
On September 19th, the Douthwaites noticed that an email from their ‘solicitor’ displayed a slightly different email address.
Having been convinced by the ‘solicitor’ that the company does have a secondary email for the ‘Client Conveyancing Account’, the Douthwaites transferred £18,200. They then made two more payments over the following days which came to £113,665 altogether.
Within days of the Douthwaite’s shocking realisation, the Payment Systems Regulator finally addressed the problem of transfer fraud. However, the proposals are unlikely to be mandatory or retrospective, which doesn’t provide much help in cases such as that of the Douthwaites’.
Official figures show that as much as £100m has been lost through such fraud in the first half of this year.
Something needs to be done about this crime which is occurring much too often. There are campaigns for banks that provide account services to fraudsters to take more responsibility for the losses of victims.