Authorised push payment fraud or “APP fraud,” involves tricking victims into approving money transfers from their bank accounts to fraudulently controlled accounts.
Thousands of people and companies are duped by APP fraud each year. The UK Finance Annual Fraud Report 2022 states that APP frauds amounted to £485.2 million in lost revenue in 2022.
These scams frequently take advantage of social engineering techniques. The victims approve of the money because they think these exchanges are legitimate, only to discover that they are not later when it is too late. Fraudsters take advantage of human psychology, using emotions like fear, haste, and trust to get victims to cooperate.
Malicious payee scams, in which fraudsters trick payment recipients into sending money to their accounts, and malicious redirections, in which scammers trick users into sending money to fictitious locations, are two common types of APP scams. Here are some other examples of APP scams.
- Invoice Interceptions: Taking hold of valid invoices and changing payment information to transfer money to accounts that aren’t authorised.
- Corporate Impersonation: When scammers trick victims into sending money, they assume the identity of authorities or corporate executives.
- Police Impersonation: Fraudsters pose as law enforcement to extort money from victims.
- Purchase Scams: Deceptive scams in which people pay for services or items that are never provided but are nonexistent.
- Investment Scams: Deceitful investment possibilities that deceive people by offering profitable returns.
- Love Scams: These involve taking advantage of victims’ vulnerable emotions to defraud them of money.
- Advance Fee Scams: Fraudsters deceive their targets into paying money upfront for services they never provide.
How can people be aware of app scams?
The Payment Systems Regulator offers helpful advice on strategies to be aware of APP scams.
It’s important to always inquire about unusual money demands, especially if they are seemingly from people you know. Verifying the legitimacy of such requests again by asking them directly may help ward off being a victim of these scams.
To increase awareness of APP scams, people can educate themselves about common tactics such as invoice interception, business impersonation, and investment fraud. Their knowledge of evolving scam tendencies might heighten their awareness of these scams. Other ways of avoiding these scams include:
- Stay informed: Awareness is your first line of defence. Government bodies and trusted organisations mentioned above regularly give updates on new scam trends and issue warnings about ongoing scams.
- Secure your devices: Use biometric authentication like face recognition or fingerprint recognition, or strong passwords to secure your smartphone and other devices. It shields your private data from unwanted access.
- Check and double-check: Get independent confirmation of the contact details before approving any financial request. Don’t depend only on the details included in a message or call.
- Use trusted sites: Stay on safe and reputable sites when completing financial transactions or payments. Refrain from clicking on dubious links. Link your mobile payment app with a credit card instead of a debit card or bank account so that you have protection if something fraudulent happens.
- Be cautious with personal information: Never share passwords or bank account information over the phone or by email.