Authorised Push Payments (APP) fraud is soon to become a £billion business

Since the surge in APP fraud reported by UK Finance in the first half of this year forty five million people received either a suspicious text, recorded message or phone call over the last 3 to 4 months(1). An unknown communication is the start of the fraud cycle and the sheer size of the fraudsters’ activities suggest at least a doubling of UKFinance first half of 2021 record figure of £355 million. 

Given the size of the scammers increased activity since the end of June and with a slow, collective prevention progress being made against the scammers, it would be foreseeable the increases could be even higher. 

Presume that the increases stay as they are within 18 months the annual yearly fraud losses are likely to be £2.4 billion.  Bank clients will loose £1.7 billion with the banks losing £0.7 billion in reimbursements. Since 2019 and given the increased fraudulent activities through 2023, over 1,000,000 people could be be scammed. Being scammed causes intense financial and emotional stress to families.

APP Fraudsters gain, Victims and banks losses Fraud APP Cases Actual and Forecast 2019 to 2021

Progress in the area of preventing fraud and a more consistent reimbursement policy is underway. The Payment System Regulator ((PSR) (2)) has outlined the next steps for a wider implementation of Confirmation of Payee (CoP) and improvements to the voluntary CRM code. These steps are likely to be implemented in 2022. 

The PSR has also called for:

Social media firms to step up and make it difficult for fraudsters seek out victims by using their platforms – criminals pay for adverts that are untrue and investments that appear to be regulated 

Greater membership for the voluntary CRM code to reimburse more victims 

Prevent banking services offered to criminals by Payee account focus

CoP is working and now the coverage requires to be increased across the banks. 

A more widespread and consistent approach to reimbursement is needed. The average fraud case for a consumer is £3,000. As the cost of investigating a fraud is over £10,000, frauds of this size will be written off immediately unless there are mitigating circumstances. Each bank views who was to blame for the fraud loss and this ranges from under 10% to over 90% of the victims being reimbursed. On average once the APP fraud has occurred the chances of receiving compensation from the banks is less than half of the amount lost.

Technology allows the ‘outing of the fraud payee’ in sub-millisecond speed, millions of times per second, in a cloud infrastructure that adjusts automatically to changes in demand.  

The next steps are to ensure the people and companies are protected from scams, banks and their regulators have an agreed understanding and operating model to protect themselves and their clients with The Police and The Law provide protection from the serial fraudsters.

Hopefully the PSR recommendations will be activated quickly, offering greater protection against the scammers. Otherwise the momentum of APP fraud will continue. If this occurs the fraud figures and the number of victims above could double by 2023.



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