Bank transfer scams are becoming increasingly common, and can be very convincing, so do not be too hard on yourself about the fact you transferred the money.
Very often this type of scammer will have additional information, including personal or banking details that they can use to come across as more genuine, and appear to be a legitimate caller.
Authorised Push Payment (APP) Scams
Bank transfer scams, sometimes referred to as ‘Authorised Push Payment’, or ‘APP’ scams, occur when the person targeted either knowingly or without realising, transfers money from their own account to one that belongs to a scammer. The scammer can make claims like they did to you or pose as family members or friends through social media messaging apps, requesting that money be transferred to them.
If you have not already, you should ensure that you contact your bank as soon as possible to see if they can stop the transaction if it is still pending, and reverse this if they can. You should provide them with as much information as possible, letting them know the details of the account that you sent the funds to.
Voluntary Push Payment Scam Code
If your bank is signed up to the Voluntary Authorised Push Payment Scam Code which launched in May 2019, they are required to take several steps to protect customers and reimburse those who are not to blame.
Many high street banks and building societies are signed up to the scheme, and they should be able to tell you if they are when you contact them.
You can also contact the bank where the money was sent and let them know the account numbers, as they may be able to stop the money and get it back for you.
You can find out which bank it was sent to using the Faster Payment’s sort code checker on their website at www.fasterpayments.org.uk.
What can I do if this doesn’t help?
If your own or the recipient’s bank are unable to help or do not resolve the issue to your satisfaction, the next stage would be to make a formal complaint to them. This should be in writing, outlining the specifics of your complaint and the desired outcome.
When it comes to claims through the voluntary code, the financial ombudsman set the bar high on what they deem ‘grossly negligent’. This means that depending on the circumstances, just because you have provided the scammer with details, does not always mean that you have acted negligently.
Scammers use complex, often sophisticated methods to perpetrate scams and trick people into believing they are someone else, or a trusted organisation. If your bank refuses your claim on this basis, you can take the case to the financial ombudsman and ask them to rule on this.
You can escalate your complaint by contacting the Financial Ombudsman Service through their website at www.help.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/help, or over the telephone on 0800 023 4567.
What other support is available?
Advice Direct Scotland run consumeradvice.scot, Scotland’s national consumer service – providing free, practical, and impartial advice and information on a range of consumer-related matters. This includes support in instances where you have been scammed.
For more information, visit www.consumeradvice.scot, or speak with our specialist advisers on 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).