Santander hits back at Which? over APP scam reimbursement rates

Santander has responded to Which’s call for banks to “come clean” on scam reimbursement numbers.

Last week the consumer organisation urged financial institutions to reveal how much money victims of bank transfer scams are being reimbursed.

This comes after UK Finance published figures that show less than half of bank transfer scam losses are compensated under a new voluntary reimbursement code. [Link]

Which? said that it has been two years since the reimbursement code launched, but that large numbers of scams are still taking place and the huge sums of money being lost “highlight how systemic issues with protections for this type of crime remain.”

But Santander has said that to tackle fraud effectively for the long term, a holistic approach is needed, involving collaboration between financial services organisations and social media companies, tech platforms and telecoms operators to stop fraudsters using their services to target consumers.

In a statement, the bank said that it is a founder member of the Stop Scams UK group, which aims to bring together organisations across a range of sectors to stop scams at source.

“Only by intervening to stop scams from happening in the first place can we prevent victims suffering the emotional impact of being scammed and – importantly - stop the flow of funds into criminals’ pockets,” said Santander.

In this context, it said, the bank is concerned that publishing reimbursement rates in isolation could present a “misleading picture” to consumers by failing to take into consideration relative levels of fraud prevention, which should be the overriding priority.

Santander believes that reimbursement rates should only be published alongside other measures to provide consumers with a balanced view, including: prevention data, which is the amount of fraud prevented by banks, scam originator data, which would provide consumers with an understanding of the proportion of fraud cases which originated from third party enablers, and recipient account data, the level of scam payments received into banks’ accounts, alongside the value of funds frozen and subsequently repatriated.

“Agreeing a common reporting methodology across the banking sector to deliver this data will be a complex project that will take time to get right, but we believe it is worthwhile in order to provide consumers with a more balanced and insightful view,” said the bank. “We stand ready to work with UK Finance and its members to be in a position to publish this data as soon as possible.”

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