How to Report and Prevent Authorised Push Payment Fraud

Discovering you’ve fallen victim to authorised push payment (APP) fraud can be distressing. You’ve authorised a payment, only to find out it’s gone to a fraudster. But don’t despair; there’s a way to fight back. Reporting APP fraud promptly increases your chances of recovering your money and helps prevent future scams.

Knowing who to contact and what information to provide is crucial when reporting APP fraud. Your bank is your first port of call, but there are other avenues to explore, such as Action Fraud or the Financial Ombudsman Service. Get armed with the essential steps to take control and seek justice.

What is Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud?

Authorised Push Payment fraud occurs when you’re duped into sending money directly to a scammer. This usually happens under the guise of a legitimate transaction. You believe you’re making a genuine payment, but the account belongs to a fraudster. These scams can be particularly sophisticated, often involving emails and documentation that seem entirely authentic.

In recent years, instances of APP fraud have been on the rise, with fraudsters finding new ways to exploit security loopholes and human trust. For instance, you might receive a seemingly official instruction to transfer funds for a mortgage payment to a new account, which turns out to be controlled by a criminal.

Real-Life Examples of APP Fraud

  • Homebuyers have been targeted when making significant transactions. Scammers intercept communication between them and their solicitors, providing new bank details for the funds transfer.
  • Businesses have been tricked into transferring money to suppliers at scammer-controlled bank accounts, following fraudulent emails that closely mimic legitimate ones.

Recognising APP Fraud

You’re a victim of APP fraud if you’ve completed a payment under the belief that:

  • You’re paying for a service or goods that do not exist.
  • You’re transferring funds to a genuine recipient, but the account details have been altered by a fraudster.

Immediate Action is essential once you’ve recognised the fraud; delay can mean funds become irrecoverable. By acting quickly, you stand a better chance of halting the transaction or recovering the lost funds. Keep communication records, bank statements, and any other relevant documentation as these will be crucial in your case against those at fault.

Fraudsters are constantly refining their techniques, so staying informed and vigilant is crucial. Your awareness and rapid response can make all the difference in safeguarding your assets and ensuring that scammers do not profit from their deceitful actions.

Signs and Indicators of APP Fraud

Awareness is your first line of defence against Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. Recognising the key signs can be crucial to halting scammers in their tracks. Certain indicators should immediately raise red flags:

  • Unexpected Contact: You’re contacted out of the blue by a company or an individual. They might pressure you to act quickly, claiming there’s an emergency or limited time offer.
  • Request for Confidential Information: Be wary if you’re asked for personal or financial details via phone, email, or text, even if they seem legitimate.
  • Mismatched Details: Payment details provided by email don’t match the ones you’ve previously been given, indicating potential email interception.
  • Unverified Changes: You receive a notification to update payment details without a verified follow-up, like a phone call directly to a known and trusted number.
  • High-pressure Tactics: Scammers create a sense of urgency to cloud your judgement, insisting on immediate action to transfer funds.

Consider this case study: Jane, a recent homebuyer, received an email from her solicitor’s office with new banking details for her final payment. The email was well-crafted and seemed authentic, complete with her solicitor’s branding. Prior to transferring tens of thousands of pounds, a quick call to her solicitor confirmed the email was fraudulent. This saved Jane from becoming another victim of APP fraud.

Remember, fraudsters can manipulate electronic communications in sophisticated ways. If a message about a financial transaction does not feel right, trust your instincts and verify all payment details independently through a known and secure method. Always take the time to double-check and never feel rushed into making a financial decision, no matter who seems to be requesting it. Stay informed and proactive in questioning any financial request that arrives unexpectedly or seems out of the ordinary. Your vigilance could protect you from significant losses.

Steps to Take When You Suspect APP Fraud

When you’ve got a hunch you’ve encountered APP fraud, acting swiftly is crucial. Begin by scrutinising the transaction. Check whether the payment details align with those you were initially given. If there’s any discrepancy, that’s a red flag.

Next, directly contact the organisation you were paying—be it your solicitor, bank, or service provider—using previously established contact information to verify the transaction’s legitimacy. Remember the case of John, a contractor who received an email to send an invoice payment to a new account? By calling the company on the number he always used, John unveiled an attempted APP fraud.

When confirming payment details, hold your bank accountable. It’s vital to alert them immediately if you spot anything awry. Doing this not only secures your stance but also initiates the tracking of the fraudulent transaction—a key step in the claims process.

Pause any further transactions, particularly if you’re dealing with sizeable sums, like in the case of property purchases. Lucy, a first-time buyer, received a last-minute change to the bank details for her deposit. Pausing and seeking confirmation from her solicitor, she avoided transferring £150,000 to a fraudster’s account.

Finally, reach out to the authorities. Report the incident to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, to ensure it’s officially recorded. This documentation will support your compensation claim and is essential in the fight against the fraud epidemic.

You’re not alone—the UK Finance reports vast numbers of individuals falling prey to APP fraud.

Year Reported Cases Amount Lost (£)
2020 149,946 479 million
2021 195,996 583 million

Remember, robust documentation and prompt reporting bolster your case when seeking compensation for mis-sold financial products or APP fraud losses. Your vigilance and quick response are the bedrocks of resistance against sophisticated scammers.

Reporting APP Fraud to Your Bank

When you suspect you’re a victim of APP fraud, reporting the incident to your bank must be your immediate course of action. Your bank has protocols in place to deal with such situations, and the faster you act, the better your chances of recovering your funds.

Upon contacting your bank, provide them with all relevant details pertaining to the transaction. This includes:

  • Transaction date and time
  • Amount transferred
  • Recipient account details
  • Any correspondence related to the transaction

Your bank will also require you to formally report the incident in writing. Be meticulous with your report; it’s crucial to include every piece of information that could help the bank trace and potentially recover your money.

Remember, banks in the UK adhere to the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code (CRM Code), which offers protection to customers. If your bank is a signatory, they’ve committed to reimburse victims of APP fraud provided they’ve met certain standards, including taking reasonable care to avoid becoming a victim.

However, if the bank’s response is inadequate or they deny responsibility unfairly, you have the right to escalate the report to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS investigates complaints about how banks handle APP fraud cases.

Consider the situation where John, a retiree, received an email from what appeared to be his utility provider. The email claimed he owed a substantial payment, which John rushed to settle via an APP. The transaction details seemed legitimate, but the account was fraudulent. He reported the fraud to his bank within hours, enabling the bank to trace and freeze the recipient account, securing a significant portion of John’s funds.

Reporting should always be prompt and detailed. Don’t hesitate to press your bank for action and remember that the FOS can be a powerful ally if the bank’s response falls short.

Other Avenues for Reporting APP Fraud

When you’ve been a victim of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, time is of the essence, but your bank isn’t the only place to turn to. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, and it’s essential that you report the incident to them. By doing so, you’re not only increasing the potential of retrieving your lost funds but also helping to prevent similar frauds from occurring.

Alongside Action Fraud, consider alerting the **Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)****. The FCA oversees financial markets with a keen focus on protecting consumers and could potentially take action if a regulated financial body is involved. Reporting to the FCA doesn’t directly result in compensation, but it ensures higher authorities are aware of the fraudulent activities.

For cases more significant in scope or involving a series of incidents, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) takes the lead. The NFIB analyses and assesses fraud reports, potentially connecting your individual case with larger, ongoing investigations.

If you’re dealing with mis-sold financial products like PPI, pensions, or mortgages, contacting the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is a wise move. This UK statutory fund serves as a safety net, offering compensation when financial firms fail. Let’s take John’s example, who was mis-sold a pension plan. He reported the incident to FSCS and received due compensation after the responsible firm went into bankruptcy.

Networking With Victim Support Groups

By engaging with victim support groups, you’re tapping into a community with shared experiences. These groups not only provide emotional support but often have resources and advice to guide you through the reporting process. Members can share their own stories, like Sarah’s, who recovered a portion of her pension mis-sold by a now-defunct company, thanks to guidance from her support group.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

In today’s interconnected world, social media platforms are powerful tools for raising awareness and potentially obtaining useful information about fraudsters. By sharing your experience online, you may connect with others affected by the same fraudulent scheme, which can strengthen your case when seeking restitution or compensation.

Contacting Action Fraud

After identifying a case of APP fraud, reporting the incident to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, must be your next step. You’ll find their online reporting tool particularly user-friendly, allowing you to provide details of the fraud securely and quickly. In situations where online access isn’t an option, you can call their telephone number, 0300 123 2040, to speak directly with a fraud analyst.

When communicating with Action Fraud, be ready to provide as much information as possible. This includes:

  • Personal details
  • Financial details connected to the transaction
  • A summary of the incident
  • Any communication you’ve had with the fraudsters

Your detailed report will help them to better understand the methodology of the fraudsters and may improve the chances of tracking them down. Moreover, you’ll receive a Crime Reference Number which is essential for any further action, including communicating with your bank and other financial authorities.

Take the case of Emily, a retired nurse from Coventry. Emily was deceived into transferring her savings to what she believed was a legitimate investment firm. Once she realised she had been scammed, she promptly contacted Action Fraud. Her detailed report and the Communication Reference Number she was provided proved integral to her claim process and eventually helped her reclaim a significant portion of her stolen funds.

Bringing incidents to Action Fraud’s attention not only aids in your own battle to retrieve funds but also contributes to the wider fight against fraud by helping to map out scams and warn others. Remember, every report adds to the database that the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) uses to identify patterns and potentially predict and prevent future crimes.

In addition, Action Fraud coordinates with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other regulatory bodies. This collaboration could lead to broader investigations into financial institutions or advisories, potentially uncovering systemic issues like the mis-selling of financial products. Your proactive stance not only assists you but may also prevent others from falling victim to similar scams.

Seeking Resolution with the Financial Ombudsman Service

In the aftermath of reporting your authorised push payment (APP) fraud case to Action Fraud and your bank, your next step may lead you to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Your right to escalate the issue to the FOS becomes crucial when you’re dissatisfied with how your bank has handled the fraud case.

The process is straightforward: firstly, you must have filed a formal complaint to your bank and given them up to eight weeks to respond. If the response isn’t satisfactory or if you haven’t received any, the FOS can step in as an independent arbitrator.

The FOS examines complaints about most financial matters including banking, insurance, mortgages, and credit. If your case involves APP fraud, the FOS will assess whether your bank has taken all necessary steps to prevent the fraud and if they’ve treated you fairly post-incident. When reaching out to the FOS, make sure to provide:

  • Your complaint reference number from the bank
  • Copies of all relevant communication between you and the bank
  • Any additional evidence that supports your claim

One pertinent case study involves Martin, who received an email he thought was from his solicitor, instructing him to transfer funds to a new account for a house purchase. He obliged, not realising the email was fraudulent. Upon realising the scam, he contacted his bank, which refused to compensate him, claiming negligence on his part. Martin then escalated the issue to the FOS, which found that the bank had failed to follow proper checks and ruled in favor of Martin, ordering the bank to refund the lost amount.

Remember, the FOS service is free and can be a powerful ally in your quest for justice. They have the authority to obligate financial firms to pay compensation, refund losses, or rectify the mistake if they decide in your favour. Ensure you keep thorough records and communicate consistently; this diligence can greatly influence the outcome of your claim.

Tips for Providing Crucial Information

When seeking compensation for APP fraud or mis-sold financial products, precision and detail in the information you provide can have a significant impact on the outcome. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) scrutinizes your submissions thoroughly, so it’s vital to present a comprehensive account of your situation.

First off, gather all communication records with your bank and any correspondence concerning the mis-selling of the product. This includes emails, letters, and even notes from phone conversations. Have transaction statements on hand to pinpoint when the fraudulent activity or mis-selling occurred. It’s crucial these documents are readily accessible and organised.

Detailed Account of Transactions

  • Include dates and amounts of each unauthorised transaction or payment towards the mis-sold product.
  • Highlight any transactions you did not authorise, or payments made under false pretenses.

Evidence of Misrepresentation

  • Document any advice given by consultants or sales agents that led to the purchase of the product.
  • Record the discrepancies between what was promised and the actual terms or performance of the product.
  • Prepare a concise narrative illustrating the personal and financial ramifications of the fraud or mis-selling on your life.
  • Itemise additional costs incurred, such as overdraft fees or interest payments, due to the fraudulent activity.

In a notable case, Jane meticulously recorded a timeline of events after being mis-sold a pension plan. She included detailed notes from each interaction with the financial advisor, which expressly stated the assurances given about investment returns. Her proactive approach in documenting ongoing fees and comparing them against her initial investment allowed her case to stand out. Consequently, the FOS ruled in her favour, leading to an appropriate settlement.

When constructing your case, be sure to avoid vague descriptions or generalisations. The specificity will enhance the strength of your claim. Always back up your points with clear evidence, and if possible, obtain witness statements or expert opinions that corroborate your version of events.

Solid preparation and meticulous documentation are your allies in persuading the FOS or any claims management entity that you deserve reimbursement. Armed with a well-documented case, you place yourself in an advantageous position to secure the compensation you’re entitled to.

How to Increase Your Chances of Recovering Your Money

When you’ve been the victim of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, it’s crucial to act fast. Time is of the essence in these cases, and the quicker you report, the higher your chances of recovering your funds.

Act Immediately

You must contact your bank as soon as you realise you’ve been defrauded. Banks have dedicated fraud teams equipped to deal with these incidents, and notifying them promptly allows them to attempt to halt the transaction or recover the funds before they’re lost completely.

Gather Evidence Rigorously

Begin collecting all related information that might support your claim:

  • Transaction details
  • Correspondence with the fraudster
  • Any advertised information that led to the mis-sold product
  • Witnesses or other victims

Report to the Authorities

Notify the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) about the incident. By involving these regulatory bodies, you’re ensuring your case is logged within the legal framework that governs financial practises in the UK.

Outline Your Experience Clearly

When presenting your case, clarity is paramount. Provide a structured timeline of events, similar to the case study of Jane who outlined her encounter with a mis-sold pension plan. Her precision and organised documentation of each step were pivotal in a successful claim.

Understand the Code of Practice

Familiarise yourself with the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code for APP scams, which sets standards for banks to follow when handling these fraud cases. Knowing your rights and the obligations of the banks can strengthen your position.

Remember, persistence and meticulous documentation can vastly improve your odds of being reimbursed. Victims who present their cases with detailed evidence and a thorough understanding of their rights under the FCA and FOS are often more successful in their claims.

Preventing Future APP Fraud

After falling victim to Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to protect yourself from future scams. With fraudsters constantly evolving their tactics, staying one step ahead is key to safeguarding your finances.

Implement Robust Security Measures
Your first line of defense is robust security.

  • Set up multi-factor authentication on all your financial accounts.
  • Regularly update passwords, opting for a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Never share sensitive information via email or phone.

Financial institutions often update their security protocols; ensure you’re informed about the latest measures and incorporate them into your routine.

Stay Informed About Common Scams
Knowledge is power.

  • Familiarize yourself with the most common types of APP fraud.
  • Attend webinars or workshops hosted by your bank or financial advisories.
  • Subscribe to fraud alert services.

An informed individual can spot red flags and take action before it’s too late.

Monitor Financial Transactions Diligently
Regular monitoring can catch fraud early.

  • Check your bank statements meticulously each month.
  • Set up alerts for high-value transactions.
  • Report any suspicious activity immediately.

Remember, swift detection leads to quicker resolution.

Case Study: Enhanced Vigilance
Take John’s case, who, after being mis-sold a pension investment, instituted stringent checks. He set up notifications for any account activity and reviewed his financial statements weekly, which enabled him to detect and report a suspicious transaction promptly, preventing further loss.

Financial education is an ongoing process. As you continue to learn and adapt, your ability to prevent future APP fraud strengthens. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and always question unexpected requests for financial transfers, no matter how authentic they may seem. By adopting these practices diligently, you transition from a reactive stance to a proactive one, significantly reducing the risk of being defrauded again.


Remember, time is of the essence when you’re dealing with APP fraud. Your swift action combined with a thorough evidence collection can be pivotal in the recovery of your funds. Embrace the lessons learned from the case study and let it reinforce the need for ongoing vigilance. By staying informed and questioning any unusual financial requests, you’re building a strong defense against future scams. Keep up with the latest security practices and never underestimate the power of knowledge in protecting your finances. Stay alert, stay informed, and stay one step ahead of fraudsters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What immediate steps should I take if I fall victim to APP fraud?

Immediately contact your bank to report the APP fraud. Time is critical, so act fast to increase the chances of recovering your money.

How can I improve my chances of recovering money lost to APP fraud?

Gather evidence related to the fraud, report it to the relevant authorities, and familiarize yourself with the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code.

What are some proactive steps to prevent future APP fraud?

Implement robust security measures, stay informed about common scams, monitor your financial transactions, and be wary of unexpected requests for money.

Why is it important to report APP fraud to authorities?

Reporting APP fraud helps prevent further incidents, may contribute to retrieving your funds, and ensures the crime is recorded for statistical and response improvement purposes.

What should I do to stay informed about APP fraud?

Regularly educate yourself on financial security, be aware of the latest scam methods, and follow guidance from financial institutions and consumer protection agencies.

Can I be reimbursed for losses due to APP fraud?

You may be reimbursed if you comply with the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code and depending on your bank’s policies and the specific circumstances of the fraud.

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