HSBC Reveals Top Three Scams So Far This Year

July 27, 2022
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As the UK grapples with its ongoing fraud problem, one of the country’s largest financial institutions has announced the three most common scams it observed between November and April.

As the UK grapples with its ongoing fraud problem, one of the country’s largest financial institutions has announced the three most common scams it observed between November and April.

The three most common scams seen by HSBC UK across cards and payments in the six months from November 2021 to April 2022 are impersonation scams, purchase scams and investment scams, new research by the retail banking giant has revealed.

Purchase scams, where fraudsters trick shoppers into paying in advance for goods or services that are never received, are the most common type of scam by volume for the bank.

The number of purchase scam victims each month increased from 781 in November 2021 to 865 in April 2022, or 4,949 across the six months, with losses totalling £3.7m.

In particular, the bank warned that most cases were due to fake adverts on web platforms including Autotrader, eBay and Facebook.

This follows reports over the weekend that retail banks such as Lloyds, Santander and Barclays are pushing for bigtech platforms to take responsibility for their contribution to the rise of online fraud and voluntarily reimburse victims.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Barclays economic crime chief Sian McIntyre said that the bank would like to see a “cross-sector pot funded by a polluter pays principle”.

“Those companies that enable scams on their platforms or services should be putting money into that pot,” she said.

Impersonation fraud was another fraud trend that ranked highly for the bank.

According to HSBC, these cases had increased by 12 percent between November and April, claiming 2,825 scam victims over the six-month period.

Customers have reported being scammed out of a total of £20.1m in this six-month period, according to the bank, whereby callers pretend to be calling from large firms, such as Amazon or even HSBC’s fraud team, and are tricked into handing over their personal details or sending a payment.

Reacting to the news, Which? policy director Rocio Concha said: “Every day, consumers are being targeted by fraudsters who are relentless in their attempts to steal money and personal information, with devastating consequences for victims.”

“The increasing sophistication of bank transfer scams leaves all of us at risk, yet consumers continue to face reimbursement lotteries depending on who they bank with,” she said. “Now that the government has introduced legislation to enable mandatory APP reimbursement for victims, the Payment Systems Regulator must be ready to ensure that firms are treating customers fairly and consistently, with tough enforcement action against those who break the rules.”

Investment scams were also highlighted by the retail institution, including those involving crypto-assets.

Not exclusive to crypto, customers successfully targeted by this scam lost a total of £11.2m to 794 fraudulent investment scams between November 2021 and April 2022, with customers on average being defrauded by £14,173.

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