A little more action needed on fraud

Every day I get messages from banks, which I do not have accounts with, mobile companies I have never dealt with and occasionally ones that I am a customer of. They have one thing in common. They are all fraudulent.

Whether it is a warning from the UK’s biggest bank telling me of dodgy payments – three in the last week – or a mobile company that is going to cut off my phone because I have not paid they all want the same thing for me to press one on my keypad and then slowly to reveal my bank account details.

Usually they call in working hours and they are so frequent they are almost a joke – that is unless they catch you when your brain is engaged elsewhere and you tell them what they want. We need to be on our guard but even more importantly banks need to be on theirs.

Too often when I hear from a bank customer who has allowed a fraudster into their account they ask me how on earth the caller knew what their insurance premium or mortgage payments are if they do not work for their bank. Do the criminals pay bank staff to get fresh information? Or can they hack the big banks to get it whenever they want?

When we lose money to the crime that is caused “authorised payment fraud” even when we think we have made checks to safeguard ourselves that may be the last you see of it. Only TSB has promised to pay all but the complicit and regularly compensates 98%+. Barclays pays compensation in 74% of cases. The other banks do not divulge how much they pay.

If we lose money we have been told to report it to Action Fraud, run within City of London Police. But unfortunately a tiny, tiny proportion of cases ever get prosecuted – seven in a thousand….and not all of them are found guilty.

Customers who have lost money provide lots of information to no avail. Action Fraud is about to be replaced. We need a body that is as slick and effective as the fraudsters.

The banks should be seconding members of their fraud teams to share information to defeat the criminals until they do we have to be super-careful.