Emma Spencer was a victim of a sophisticated APP fraud, and lost thousands

Emma Spencer lost thousands after falling for a sophisticated APP fraud.

After falling for a clever delivery scam text, a young lady has now lost thousands of Pounds.

Emma Spencer, 31, fell foul of an Authorised Push Payment (APP) scam after receiving a text at the start of December, supposedly from Royal Mail, claiming a parcel couldn’t be delivered unless she paid £2.

As more people are working from home, and ordering packages to be delivered, this has been a favorite tactic for fraudsters in the past year. 

Concerned about the supposedly missed delivery, Emma filled in her bank details to make the £2 payment. 

The first sign of trouble came two days later when Emma received a text from her bank, Lloyds, asking for a confirmation code for a £2,300 transaction that had been attempted on Harvey Nichols’ website using her details. 

Emma was originally from London. Emma knew she didn’t make the transaction and had never been to Harvey Nichols. So she correctly withheld her code.

In a matter of minutes, she got a call from someone who identified himself as a Lloyds fraud detective and said that he wanted to protect her account.

She confirmed that she made several transactions when he asked about them. 

Believing this was genuinely a representative of Lloyds, Emma was persuaded to transfer all of the funds in her ISA and bank account, all of her life savings, to a supposedly ‘safer’ account.  

She was told to move her money in amounts of £1,400 from her Lloyds account to her Revolut online banking account, totalling £9,190. 

Banks may have a harder time tracking and recovering money that has been moved between accounts within a relatively short period of time.  

After this, she was instructed to establish another beneficiary (the scammer), before transfering all funds to them.  

To add insult to injury, Emma was also scammed into taking out a £14,000 loan as, when the scammer called, they said someone had attempted to take out a loan in her name.

She pretended that they were going through an online process together and was informed by Lloyds she would be able cancel it.

 It sounds so silly now, but they had ground me down for an hour, plus they had asked me security questions so I assumed they were legit

The money was transferred to her Lloyds account immediately and it wasn’t cancelled. 

Emma was then panicked and concerned and called her mom. She advised Emma to cease sending money and call Lloyds immediately. 

Emma replied, “It sound so ridiculous now when I speak it, but evidently they had ground my down for an entire hour. Plus they had asked security questions so that I presumed they were genuine.” 

Lloyds was contacted immediately. She was informed that all of her funds had been lost and it was too late.

She was able to borrow the amount she needed, but she assumed the con artists would want her to transfer the rest to Revolut.

The loan being cancelled was another concern. Emma talked to seven people from Lloyds. One of them said that the loan would be cancelled and interest added to her monthly payment.

Even though she had been advised earlier by a representative of the bank that they were applying for the loan to her account.

A Lloyds and Revolut customer fell victim to a sophisticated Authorised Push Payment scam

A Lloyds and Revolut customer fell victim to a sophisticated Authorised Push Payment scam

After various phone conversations with Lloyds fraud department in which she desperately trying to reclaim the £9,190, Emma was told a scam artist accessed her bank account using Lloyds automated phone banking.

After finding out which transactions she’d made, they could then ask her questions on the telephone and be able move her money to their account. 

A significant amount of money also had been transferred from Emma’s ISA into her current account, almost matching the sum that the fraudsters asked Emma to transfer.

Her account wasn’t blocked, and Lloyds did not contact her after she withheld the security codes.

Lloyds told her how it could have happened and that the fraudster likely used details she’d previously filled out in a phishing email.

When she asked Lloyds why they didn’t need a code or password, Lloyds replied that this wasn’t necessary for automated banking.

Emma thought that security measures would protect the account from anyone but the bank account holder.

Lloyds told her it did see the £1,400 payments going from her personal account to her Revolut, but didn’t contact her because both accounts are in her name and it was ‘open banking’.

The fraud team told her that scammers often ask their victims to transfer money from their personal accounts into Revolut accounts. This is a common occurrence in cases of scamming.

What’s an APP Scam? 

Authorished push payment (APP) scams involve the fraudster tricking their victims into willingly making large bank transfers to them, according to the credit agency Experian.

One example is that they might pretend to be a representative of a bank or another trust organization, and then claim the victim has been victims to fraud. They will tell them to move their money to a new bank account. 

Customers often have to react quickly and are less likely to take the time to consider what they need to do. 

To help avoid this type of scam, consumers are urged to question, to the highest level, if anyone asks them to divert a payment or move their savings.

Call the bank or company directly to confirm any change in payment information. Don’t rely on emails as these could be intercepted.

Do not rush payments, since a real organization will take their time.

Delivery scam texts claiming to be from Royal Mail and other delivery providers have increased recently, as people have become more reliant on online shopping during the pandemic

As people are more dependent on the internet to shop during this pandemic, delivery scams texts purporting to be from Royal Mail or other delivery companies have been increasing in recent years. 

Lloyds also told Emma she tried to reach her but she didn’t receive any missed calls.

Emma explained that she was not asked for passwords or any other information on the many calls she had made to banks. Instead, they only wanted my name and address.

Whilst eventually the loan was cancelled, Lloyds said it could not help her recover the £9,190 she sent the fraudsters as she had transferred the money ‘willingly’.

Emma acknowledges that she paid the money but says it was under duress. Lloyds failed to act in her favor despite seeing signs of suspicious activity.

Emma shared her thoughts: “What’s most troubling is that I feel like it is all my fault when I talk to Lloyds people. I transferred money to take out the loan.

After being asked several security questions, I came to the conclusion that the fraudster was from Lloyds and believed him to be a fraud supervisor. He was also able to see the contents of my bank account and my transactions.

“What I find confusing is that there are both.” [Lloyds and Revolut]These scams are common, but they don’t seem to have any effect on the process that allows them to occur.

Revolut also transferred the entire amount to an account of one of its customers, seemingly without investigating who it was to, despite having signed up for a confirmation of payee system.

Emma only received a confirmation text to her new payee.

Emma is clearly distraught after the incident. She lost her confidence, and all of her financial resources.

It seems highly unlikely that she will ever see her money back.  

This is Money spoke to both Lloyds and Revolut to find out what security measures were – and weren’t – put in place and how this sort of scam can get through their systems. 

Lloyds said it was important to remember that your bank will never contact you to ask you to move your money to another account - but fraudsters can be very convincing

Lloyds advised that banks will not contact customers to request money be transferred to another account. However, they can be convinced by fraudsters.

Lloyds’ response: “We have repaid our loan, but cash fraud did not occur on our watch.” 

Lloyds Bank spokeswoman said that ‘Helping our customers keep their money safe is our priority. We have great sympathy for Ms Spencer, the victim of this scam.

“Our investigation revealed that she had transferred money from her Lloyds Bank bank account to her Revolut account, where she continued to make fraudulent payments. She did not transfer any money from her Lloyds Bank bank account to fraudsters.

‘It is important to remember that your bank will never contact you to ask you to move your money to another account – this is a tell-tale sign of a fraudster at work.’

Lloyds said its investigation found that Emma provided the fraudster with enough secure information – which should be known only to the customer – to allow them to make a number of internal transfers from her Lloyds Bank savings account to her Lloyds Bank current account via its automated telephone banking service.

According to the service, only a small number of actions are possible on an account.

According to the statement, fraudsters would have not been able withdraw funds from these accounts or to transfer money to a different beneficiary. 

These were transfers from her Lloyds Bank accounts, so no money was lost.

Customers are urged to never transfer money to an unknown bank account [stock image]

We urge customers to avoid transferring money to unknown accounts. [stock image]

Emma was convinced by the fraudster that she had to move her money from her Lloyds Bank account to safe accounts at other banks. This is something no bank will ever request.  

Lloyds stated that Emma transferred the money initially to her Revolut account. Because she was moving the funds to a different account, they were not considered suspicious. 

The fraudster then received money directly from Revolut. 

Emma’s credit report has been updated to reflect the fact that her loan was unwound. Emma has confirmed her credit account is in good standing and that she does not have an overdraft limit. Emma continues to use the debit card for payments.

Lloyds did not answer our question regarding why a customer transferring over £9,000 out in the course of an hour, when her usual outgoings for a month stand at around £2,000, why it was not flagged on its system. 

Revolut’s Response: “We tried for money recovery but it was transferred on to a 3rd party.” 

Revolut claimed that when it notices fraud, or becomes aware of it, it collects all the information it needs from customers and starts its APP Fraud recovery process.

According to it, this involves assessing customer testimonials as well as auditing the entire transaction. 

It checks of all the warnings of potential fraud that the customer received, as well as contacting external parties that might have been in receipt of fraudulently-obtained funds.

Revolut indicated that funds obtained fraudulently were transferred to an account. It would then immediately attempt to intercept the funds and protect any customer from loss.

However, the possibility of doing so is dependent on the fact that the funds were subsequently transferred from the account of an external party.

Revolut spokesmen said that the matter was reported within two hours of the transfer. 

“We activated immediately our anti-fraud processes, including contact with the outside party to whom the funds were subsequently transferred.

The customer reported that all of the above was accomplished within just 20 minutes.

We immediately intercept funds that have been transferred from another account to fraudulently obtain funds to prevent loss.

Revolut said when it detects or is alerted to fraudulent behaviour, it gathers the necessary information from the customer and initiate its APP Fraud Recovery process

Revolut explained that it begins its APP Fraud Recovery process when it is aware of fraudulent behaviour.

“Unfortunately, such funds can be transferred immediately to non-Revolut accounts so we might not be able recover funds. This is something we do every day. We also work with banks and other financial institutions as needed.

“Unfortunately, the funds are not recoverable at this time.” Recovering funds after they are transferred outside depends on whether or not the funds were subsequently transferred from the account of an external party.

Revolut is currently not a member of Contingent Reimbursement Mod Code. It establishes consumer protection standards regarding APP scams or refunds. 

Is it possible to recover money from fraudsters? 

Emma will not see any of her money again, even though she fell for a scam.

As she assumed, if anything similar happened, she would get a warning from her bank. She feels that there are not sufficient security measures.

She is not the only one who falls for these fraudsters every day. 

Some people may be able to recover their funds, but many others won’t. Fraudsters often take funds from accounts quickly in an effort to conceal their existence. 

It is important to immediately notify your bank if you have been victim to fraud. The bank can stop all further transactions from going through, and determine if it can recover any funds.

You might also contact the Financial Ombudsman, who can investigate a wide range of frauds, including APP fraud. 

Meanwhile, Action Fraud suggests consumers follow the below tips before sending money to anyone:

Stop: You can keep your information and money safe by taking a few moments to think about what you are doing before making a decision.

Challenge: It could be fake. It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals can rush to panic or hurry you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

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