Fraudsters duped customers into transferring more than £200m through their bank accounts during the first six months of this year.
In the first half of 2019 roughly £207.5m was lost to authorised push payment (APP) scams, which involve bank users sending money from their own account directly to one belonging to a fraudster.
Losses surged 40 per cent from the same period last year, and while figures are not directly comparable as more banks are now reporting on the scams, experts have warned that “the increasing focus of criminals on these scams” has helped drive the rise.
According to UK Finance, the banking and finance trade body that released the figures, the total amount returned from APP fraud was less than £40m.
Over £400m was also stolen by criminals through unauthorised card, remote banking and cheque fraud.
“The alarming rise of bank transfer fraud – with huge losses and little progress made returning money to victims – shows why the new banking industry code is so important and must deliver results,” said Jenny Ross, Which? Money Editor.
She added: “In force since the end of May, it promises better protection for fraud victims, and must lead to a significant increase in the amount of money being reimbursed to victims of these sophisticated scams.
Investment scams rose by more than double year-on-year to £43m.
Chris Hemsley, managing director of the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR), said: “We know APP scams can have a devastating impact on the people who fall victim. That’s why the new industry code, which came into force at the end of May this year, is so important in giving people protections they’ve never had before.”
He added: “Today’s report demonstrates why the industry needs to continue driving forward other initiatives to stop frauds from happening in the first place.”