Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud Grew 39% In 2021 With Little Justice To Be Had - So Who Shot The Sheriff?

Wednesday, 07 September 2022
By John Bertrand


The Scam

On Facebook, a fake Airbnb website offers accommodation

that includes a faster payment deposit of £1,000.

It was a scam and the money gone.

Airbnb noted it was fake website but refuses any reimbursement and says "call your bank"

Facebook refuses any reimbursement and advises "call your bank"

Your Bank calls Payee Bank and is told “no money in that account” so they refuse reimbursement

So who shot the Sheriff as APP frauds soar 39%?

"Not me" say the banker, "my client authorised the payment"

"Not me" say telecom, "we give communication access"

"Not us" say the social media platforms, "we just allow websites paid ads"

The victim of the scam is left to look upon the options for recovering the money:

  1. Appealing the Bank’s decision to Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
  • As the scammer needs to have a bank account it would be natural to think that the scammer’s bank would be liable for any loss. Not so, in fact the ones who are actually responsible for the fraud loss are the victims with 60% plus Payer Banks reimbursements of 40%.
  • FOS record of overturning banks’ negative decisions exceeds 50% and has it has recommend the banks use a more consistent and reliable approach to the decision-making. A further issue is the timeframe; banks can take up to 45 days to investigate a fraud with the addition of FOS with a similar timeframe for the appeal. Also the effort required for victims to provide the information required for the FOS appeal.
  • In the four years 2018 to 2022 APP fraud, now the No. 1 UKFinance Fraud category, £1.15 billion was not reimbursed out of £1.81 billion reported scammed. Is there an opportunity for a PPI-type claim service for victims?

2. Reporting the scam to the Police/ActionFraud

  • It is rare for the Police to participate directly in many of the reported frauds unless it is very large, for example, over £100,000.
  • ActionFraud is the national reporting centre for frauds. It does not have investigative powers and passes the information to The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to assess the most appropriate action. It has been estimated that 96% of all frauds reported are not investigated.
  • Given the resources available to the Police to investigate all types of fraud, estimated at 3% of the their resources, only the most important frauds receive action. Law Court convictions for any type of fraud are few and declining.

3. Accepting the loss and emotional distress and not reporting


Who shot the Sheriff as digital scammers taking £millions?

"Not us" say the regulators "we need time to consult"

"Not me" says Law enforcement, "as this is a new digital not a physical crime"

"Not us", say the scammers "the sheriff is out of town"

The Victim picked 3 and accepted losing £1,000 knowing chances of justice were slim.

Lots of unconnected parties, missing appropriate regulations, no one responsible for cyber policing, victims blamed, no physical presence of fraudsters and remote chance of conviction.

We need a Sheriff* for APP justice!