European Banks and Police warn consumers of Cyber Scams

Europol and the European Banking Federation have launched a fraud awareness campaign. Their aim is to raise awareness of growing incidents of financial fraud and data theft. This campaign is part of European Cyber Security Month (ECMS).

Protecting against Cyber Scams

Law enforcers from 28 EU member states will join forces with 25 national banking associations and others. This includes Columbia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine. The aim will be to warn customers to not fall for cyber scams. The campaign will focus on the 7 most common financial scams. These are CEO fraud, invoice fraud, phishing and its variants, spoofed bank websites, romance scams, personal data theft via social media, and investment and online shopping scams.

Most of these use techniques of social engineering to fool the victim into handing over their personal and financial details. They may also trick them into transferring funds to a malicious third party. A dedicated website explains the signs of these kinds of scams. The website also informs consumers of the things they can do to stay safe from such activities. Many fall under what is known as authorised push payment (APP) fraud. This is where the scammer tricks the victim into making payments into an account that the scammer controls.

Previous Reports

According to the UK’s Payment System Regulator (PSR), 43,875 cases of APP scams were reported last year. 88 per cent of those who fell victim to these scams were consumers who lost an average of £2784. However, it is a contentious area. Many financial institutions won’t reimburse their consumers for this kind of fraud. This comes in spite of some having measures in place to spot and block this kind of fraud.

The UK regulator is working on an industry code of practice. This should clarify matters, as well as initiatives such as stricter checks on the identity of those opening bank accounts. Consumers will have to verify they that are paying the person they want. Data sharing will also be improved so that banks can respond more quickly to scams.

Banking lobby group, UK Finance, controversially argued last week that a new levy on each payment made in the country could help provide funds to compensate the victims of APP fraud.

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