Ulster Bank amongst first to adopt scam victims code
Ulster Bank is among the first of Northern Ireland's lenders to sign up to a new voluntary industry code to protect scam victims.
Consumer group Which? has said blameless scam victims who are tricked into transferring money directly to a fraudster, should find they are better protected by the code, which came into force yesterday.
It's estimated that £674 is typically lost every minute to such crime - with victims left battling to get their money back in the past.
People who have transferred large sums of money to fraudsters have faced never seeing it again - because they have authorised their bank to make the payment.
By contrast, with scams where money is stolen from people's bank accounts without their knowledge, victims can generally expect to be refunded.
The new code aims to make sure that customers making payments are not penalised for fraudsters' criminal actions, even in circumstances where the customer's bank has done everything reasonably expected of it to protect the customer.
The industry has committed to provide initial funding for these "no blame" situations until the end of 2019.
Ulster Bank has said that it is implementing the new code in full.
"Fraud and scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and challenging for customers, so we are working harder than ever to keep our customers safe and secure," the bank said yesterday.
"We have put in additional checks and alerts and invest heavily across all our channels to continuously enhance our security features for the protection of our customers.
"Additionally, we constantly update our processes and procedures to ensure they are fair and above or in-line with the industry and guidance from the ombudsman and regulators."
Other lenders here are expected to follow suit.
Danske Bank said: "We are not one of the original cluster of banks signed up to the code, but are actively reviewing becoming participants and assessing what that involves."
Trade association UK Finance has said the initial "no blame" funding is intended to provide the necessary time for the industry to work with the regulators and Government to deliver sustainable long-term funding for this reimbursement fund by January 2020.
Sophisticated authorised push payment (APP) scams trick people into transferring money, perhaps because they think they are paying a bank, a business or HM Revenue and Customs.