Santander launches new payment process to combat the rise in payment scams

Santander is today announcing enhancements to its payment process designed to stop scammers and help its customers protect themselves from fraud and scams. The news comes as latest figures show that £145 million was taken in authorised push payment (APP) fraud between January – June 2018. APP fraud is where the customer is tricked into sending money to a fraudster.

The new process asks customers to pick a category of payment when making a transfer. The choices include: family and friends; house or large purchase; building work; transfer to investment. Depending on the selection the customer makes, specific scam avoidance guidance will be provided. This step will be a compulsory part of the payment process and introduced online followed by a roll out to branches and contact centres.

In addition to these warnings, customers will be alerted to the fact that scammers will often pressurise them into making an immediate payment. Customers will have the option to set a cooling-off period, giving them time to change their mind and cancel the payment if necessary. Customers are asked to confirm they are not being asked to move their money by anyone, that they have freely chosen the reason for the payment, and have read the associated scam warning before they continue.

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy at Santander said: “We are pleased to be introducing these changes which we believe offer a new and unique approach to preventing payment scams, and, crucially, providing better protection and awareness for our customers. 
“In the light of recent industry figures on APP scams, it is clear that nobody can afford to be complacent when it comes to scams. We are absolutely committed to fighting fraud and are actively developing other ways in which we can put a stop to the criminals who ruin people’s lives.”

When customers make a payment, the recipient bank’s name will now also be displayed based on the sort code so customers can see clearly where their payment is going. This is designed to help in instances where customers are asked to move money to a ‘safe’ account as it will immediately flag the receiving bank and alert customers if it is not going where they expect it to go.

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Notes to editors

1 Malicious payee scams are where the victim makes the payment to the fraudsters account believing that it is for a legitimate reason – for instance the purchase of an item in purchase scams, or an investment.

2 Redirection scams are where the victim believes they are paying one party, but the money is actually being sent to a fraudsters account – for instance invoice fraud or where the criminal has cold-called impersonating the bank.

3 UK finance H1 2018 fraud stats.

Santander offers the following tips to avoid falling victim to payment scams:

  • Santander (or any other bank) or the police will never ask you to move money to another account. If somebody asks you to do this either online, over the phone or in person, report it immediately to your bank using the number on the back of your card;
  • Don’t feel under pressure if someone is telling you to make a payment urgently. Talk to family and friends and get a second opinion before transferring any money;
  • If you receive an email requesting a payment, even if it is a bill you are expecting to pay, verify the email and the bank details using contact details you look up independently (ie not included on the email);
  • Read any email asking for payment, personal detail or with links and downloads very carefully. Check for giveaway signs that it is a fake eg, the email address is not quite right, there are spelling or grammatical mistakes;
  • Never give away banking or security details – a genuine bank or other organisation will never contact you unsolicited to ask for these;
  • Be wary of phone calls and texts that look as if they are from your bank – scammers can ‘spoof’ a number to look as if it is your bank’s. If in any doubt, phone back using the number on the back of your card;
  • Never allow someone remote access to your computer off the back of a cold call – no matter how convincing they sound, nobody from an official organisation will ever ask to do this;
  • Be very cautious of links and attachments in emails - if in any doubt, leave well alone.

About Us

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 March 2018, the bank has c19,500 employees. It serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. 

About Us

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 986 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,619 million in 2017, an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

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