Can you get your money back after a “push” fraud?

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Push payment fraud stories are always depressing. For example, one article revealed the sad case of a widow who was conned into losing her mother’s care-home fees in a highly sophisticated cybercrime attack.

In this case, the woman was defrauded of £20,000 after a criminal contacted her and claimed to be from the Royal Bank of Scotland fraud team flagging up unusual transactions. The fraudsters ran through some security questions to extract the information they needed to access her online banking and rename her current account “frozen”. So, when the woman went to check via the proper channels, it did appear that her account had been locked. In a following call, she was then asked to move her balance to a new “protected” account. But when she called RBS to check the transfer went through okay, they knew nothing about it.

What is push fraud?

Push fraud – also called authorised push payment (APP) scams – happen when criminals deceive individuals into sending them money. Because the victim believes the fraudster to be trustworthy and genuine, they authorise the handover of cash. The money is then quickly transferred by the fraudster to different accounts, often abroad, which makes getting it back almost impossible.

Common types of push payment scams include:

  • sending fake bills and invoices that look genuine (e.g. from a child’s school or a legitimate tradesperson)
  • persuading people to transfer money to someone official, such as a solicitor (e.g. when buying a house)
  • luring people to transfer cash into fraudulent bank accounts
  • sending emails or other messages pretending to be from a friend asking for money.

If you have been the victim of push payment fraud, or attempted push payment fraud, you should contact Action Fraud ASAP.  If you have lost money as a result of the scam, you must also report it as a crime.

Push payment fraud and data breaches

Push payment fraud often happens following a data breach. Criminals use the data exposed in breaches (e.g. maiden names and other personal data) to trick people into believing they are genuine.

Stolen data is easy to buy on the dark web, so if you are the victim of a data privacy violation, it is quite likely that different criminals could be trying to use your data against you.

Find out more about making a data breach claim with Keller Lenkner UK

The rising problem of push fraud

The problem of push payment fraud is increasing in the UK. Indeed, according to consumer group Which? more than £200 million was lost to bank transfer fraud in the first half of 2020. And, to make matters worse, only a third of losses were reimbursed.

Are the banks liable?

Many banks have signed up to a voluntary code designed to help ensure victims of push fraud get their money back. But the banks will only reimburse if the victim of the scam is not ‘to blame’, and the code only applies to transfers between UK accounts. According to Which? “since the Code was introduced, the proportion of money being returned to victims by signatory banks has actually fallen”.

Get your money back

Follow these steps to get your money back following a push payment scam:

  • ask your bank/online provider to reimburse the stolen funds
  • if the bank refuses, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman
  • claim compensation if the crime happened because the necessary security processes were not in place
  • claim compensation if another organisation breached your data and this was used against you.

Don’t be fobbed off by the banks! Your bank (or another financial provider) can only refuse to reimburse stolen funds where you have shown an incredibly significant degree of carelessness.

At Keller Lenkner UK, our data breach lawyers help people to make successful push payment fraud claims to compensate for their loss and distress.


Contact Keller Lenkner UK’s expert data breach lawyers to discuss a cybercrime claim.

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