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Two Steps and You’re Scammed: Fraudsters Use New Multi-Stage Scam to Access Victims’ Money

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Two-step bank scam victims have lost up to £40,000
following the newly emerging scam tactic.

The Daily Mirror has recently reported an increase in a new form of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud which utilises multiple bank accounts in the name of one victim. APP fraud is a potentially devastating form of cybercrime where fraudsters trick individuals into authorising a payment to a bank account controlled by them, with over £580 million lost in 2021 to this type of fraud.

In the reports of ‘two-step bank fraud’, criminals are convincing victims who hold accounts with more than one bank to move their money from one bank to another (step one), and then on to a third ‘safe account’ (step two) set up in the victim’s name but, in fact, the account is in the control of the scammer.

As the victim has authorised the payments – because they believed it to be a legitimate reason to protect their account – some banks involved have refused to compensate the victims. However, for victims of two-step bank fraud, and bank APP fraud, there may be avenues to recover compensation elsewhere.

In the reports of ‘two-step bank fraud’, the victims were first contacted by scammers impersonating their bank’s own fraud department regarding ‘security threats’ on their accounts. Using time pressures and the risk of losing money, the well-rehearsed callers then convinced the victims to move their savings to an account they held with another bank while the initial account was ‘secured’. In all three cases, these were held with the online bank Revolut.

The second step in the scam involved the fraudsters instructing the victims to move their money again to a supposedly ‘safe’ Revolut account, allegedly opened in the victim’s name for the purpose of securing the money, but in fact, controlled by the criminals. As is common with APP fraud in general, in two-step bank fraud once the money has been moved into the account controlled by the criminals it is moved swiftly on making the funds virtually impossible to trace or recover.

As the payments have been ‘authorised’ by the victim during the course of the scam, some banks do not accept liability for the money lost and will not refund. According to the Daily Mirror report, Revolut has reimbursed some victims targeted by two-step fraud but has refused to refund others.

If you have also fallen victim to a two-step APP scam, or any fraud on your bank account, you should report the incident immediately to your bank, the police, and Action Fraud, the reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in the UK.

Once the report is investigated, your bank may offer a full or partial refund; however, if they reject the complaint and you believe that the bank failed to take sufficient steps to prevent the fraud, you can take the issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS is an independent, Government-backed organisation that resolves disputes between financial service providers and their clients.

Victims of two-step bank fraud scams may be under the impression that, once the money has gone and your bank has refused to reimburse, the funds are lost – this is not always the case.

In the UK, as industry experts banks have a duty of care to protect their customers from financial crime, such as money laundering and also APP scams by implementing reliable systems and processes to detect, prevent, and stop fraudulent activities on their accounts.

These measures may include:

  • Monitoring customer accounts for any suspicious activity.
  • Blocking transactions that seem unusual for the most vulnerable customers.
  • Being informed about common scam tactics.
  • Providing warnings to clients during the transaction process.
  • Providing information to customers and colleagues about potential scam tactics.

Recent investigations by the FOS have ruled that some UK banks have not been fulfilling their obligations to detect and prevent scams, resulting in significant successful compensation claims for victims.

Sarah Spruce, Head of the APP fraud team at TLW Solicitors commented:

“Unfortunately, scammers are becoming wise to the security procedures and systems deployed by banks and are adding extra stages into their scams to avoid these procedures and get hold of victims’ money. The scammers always seem to be a step ahead.

We would advise anyone when being contacted by someone purporting to be from your bank, to hang up the phone or ignore the text or email and call the bank directly on the phone number on the back of your card or on your statement. If you do fall victim to a scam like this, it is important not to feel embarrassed, there are ways to try and get your money back and our team at TLW Solicitors are more than happy to discuss your options during a no-obligation conversation.”

Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to helping clients make compensation claims if they have been the victim of APP fraud. We are well-versed in the time constraints, requirements, and appeals procedures associated with the refund claim process as well as being well-equipped to handle complex legal arguments and defences that may arise during the claim.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a two-step bank fraud scam and suffered financial losses, our specialist team is available for a confidential and no-obligation consultation. We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning you will not be charged any fees unless we succeed in securing compensation for you.

Call us on 0800 169 5925 or complete the Online Claim or Call-back forms below.

Time limits can apply and so anyone wishing to bring a claim should do so without delay.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Authorised Push Payment Fraud Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.

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