Santander launches additional fraud protection for customers shopping on Facebook Marketplace

Santander has introduced an additional layer of protection for customers who are transferring money via mobile or online banking to purchase an item on Facebook Marketplace. The move comes as Santander customers have lost nearly £6.5 million so far this year to Facebook Marketplace scams, an increase of almost 50% over the last year.

When making a payment, customers will now be shown a tailored scam warning (pictured below1) highlighting the risks of shopping via this platform. Santander’s Tackling Authorised Push Payment Fraud report2 found that over seven in 10 purchase scams originate on social media and this is the latest step from the bank to help customers stay safe while shopping online.

Customers seeking to make a bank transfer will be asked if they have seen the item in person. Any customer answering no will not have their bank transfer authorised and will instead be advised to make further checks on the item, including seeing the item in person and using a more secure payment method such as PayPal, or using a debit or credit card.

Any customer who confirms they have seen a photo or video of the item, but have not viewed the item in person, will also be unable to make the bank transfer.

For those who confirm they have seen the item in person, the payment can be processed but they will still be warned that their money may be at risk and reminded that payment sites such as PayPal may offer greater protection, as well as choosing to pay directly by credit or debit card.

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Risk Management at Santander said: “Customers are losing more than ever to the criminals who carry out these scams on Facebook Marketplace and as Christmas approaches we can expect this to increase further. Building on existing measures in place to protect customers, this latest move will prompt our customers to think twice before handing over money to any potential fraudsters.

“Everybody should be vigilant when shopping through any online marketplace and the best thing people can do to protect themselves is to not buy any item they haven’t seen in person, or to use a trusted payment method or a debit or credit card.”

Santander data covering January 2023 – September 2023, and January 2022 – September 2022, shows:

  • 7,136 customers have fallen victim to Facebook scams this year, up 48% from last year. Customers in every age group reported an increase in Facebook scams.
  • This year, nearly six and a half million (£6,465,246) has been reported as lost to Facebook scams, up nearly a third (30%) from last year.
  • People aged 18-25 are the most likely to fall victim to Facebook scams accounting for nearly a fifth (19%) of all cases in 2023. Over 60s are second most likely to fall victim accounting for 13% of all cases, while 26-30 year olds account for 10% of all cases.
  • Over 60s lost the largest sums of money to scammers, with an average claim made for £2,450 so far this year. 56-60 year olds reported the second largest losses with an average claim for £1,791, while 46-50 year olds were third with an average claim of £1,255.

For more information on fraud and scams please visit our website. Take Five also has some useful information on their website.

- Ends -

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to editor

1. Picture of the new warning for Facebook Marketplace purchases.

Santander dynamic warning

2. Report available online here (PDF - 940 KB).

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 June 2023, the bank had around 19,400 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, 7 million digital customers via a nationwide 445 branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the FCA and the PRA in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the FSCS in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Santander aims to be the best open financial services platform providing services to individuals, SMEs, corporates, financial institutions and governments. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising €220 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2030. At the end of the third quarter of 2023, Banco Santander had €1.3 trillion in total funds, 166 million customers, 8,700 branches and 212,000 employees.