Don't be tricked this Halloween: how to avoid push payment fraud

As we enter the season of trick or treating, for some small businesses being tricked out of funds by fraudsters is no fun.  In the year to March 2023 the Home Office recorded 1.25 million cases of fraud.

People in the UK lost £1.2bn to fraud in 2022, the equivalent of £2,300 every minute, according to bank industry group UK Finance.

Last week the BBC reported that the boss of a small business had £1.6m stolen in a matter of minutes through a sophisticated authorised push payment (APP) scam in early July.

In authorised push payment fraud, victims are tricked into transferring money to coercive fraudsters pretending to be from their bank, police, or someone else they trust.

That is when victims are psychologically tricked and manipulated by criminals into transferring the money to the thieves themselves.

In the case reported by the BBC, the victim was tricked into thinking the firm's money was at risk before the criminals manipulated him to gain access to the company's bank account.

The fraudsters then proceeded to steal £1.6m, via dozens of fraudulent transactions, in less than 20 minutes.

So, what is being done about it?

The UK's payments watchdog wants to make compensation mandatory and the government announced a plan a year ago.

The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is urging people to their website.

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe

Challenge: Could it be fake? It is OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you've fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

Report any crime to Action Fraud - the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime run by the City of London Police.

Most High Street banks are signed up to these, which oblige them to refund innocent victims of this type of fraud.

Don’t let your business be tricked by authorised push payment fraud.  Around three million scams took place last year with frauds involving payment cards being the most common.

Check out our Telecoms FAQs to find out more on protecting your business from phone scams

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