Victims of bank transfer fraud should have the same protection as those whose cards are cloned or accounts hacked, Which? says.
Banks must shoulder more responsibility for money lost by people tricked into transferring it into a fraudster’s account, according to a “super-complaint” by Which?
The consumer group said victims of these types of scams did not have the same type of protection as those using other payment methods.
It is calling for the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) to investigate.
Bank transfers by UK consumers have risen from 100 million a year a decade ago to 70 million a month now, Which? said.
But it said protections have not kept up, and there was no legal right for victims of fraud by money transfer to claim their losses back from the bank.
Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which?, said: “What most of us don’t realise is that if you’re conned into paying out money to a fraudster you stand to lose all of your money, unlike when you use your credit or debit card.”
New research from the consumer group showed that 60% of people did not realise they had no consumer protection from their bank if they were victims of such a scam.
The poll found 84% had used bank transfers to make payments and 9% knew someone that had made a transfer to a fraudster’s account.
Which? said the increasingly sophisticated nature of scams made it more difficult for consumers to protect themselves.
“People cannot be expected to detect complex scams pressuring them to transfer money immediately or look-alike bills from their solicitor or builder,” the consumer group said.
Which? said banks should take more liability in the case of money transfer scams, just as they reimburse those who lose out via credit or debit card fraud, or fraudulent account activity.
That way they would have an incentive to develop mechanisms to stop the scams.
Which? is calling on regulators formally to investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud.
It also wants them to propose new measures ensuring greater protection for consumers and liability for banks.
The PSR said it would examine evidence supplied by Which? and gather its own “to build a clearer picture of the issue and decide a course of action”.
It must respond to the super-complaint within 90 days.