Insights • Blogs/Articles

The increase of scam (APP) fraud and the impact on banks

Matt Ingold

Global Product Director

Sekura Mobile Intelligence Ltd

Scam fraud, or Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, has been on the rise globally. In 2021 the UK saw a 39% increase in scam fraud compared to 2020. In monetary terms that’s a massive £538.2m problem, occurring 195,996 times – bear in mind, that’s just events that have been reported.

APP fraud is a somewhat unsophisticated, but effective and damaging deception and occurs when a person, or business, is tricked into sending a payment to someone they believe is a genuine payee, using a range of methods including telephone, email and text message.

As an example, a hacker can gain access to an email account, look at a pending payment and ask for that payment to be made to their account instead. This can have devastating financial and emotional consequences.

Many cases of scam fraud go unreported, but for those that are, currently, only 46% of cases are being reimbursed by the banks, leaving thousands of consumers without their money after being tricked into a payment. Most victims of APP fraud are consumers (88%) but businesses are targeted too, and usually for larger amounts that could easily be paid to an imposter by a busy accounts department.

Big implications for banks and other financial institutions 

To try to stem the tide of APP fraud, on September 29th, 2022, the PSR (Payment Systems Regulator) in the UK published a new proposal for legislation to protect every consumer that falls victim to APP fraud, meaning that all victims should be reimbursed, and liability shared between both the receiving and beneficiary banks.

As well as reimbursement in all but the most exceptional cases, the PSR proposals entail incentivising banks, building societies and other financial institutions to prevent APP fraud and the PSR is working with Pay.UK – operator of the Faster Payment system utilised by APP scammers – to implement the legislated requirements after they are passed.

The finance industry is tackling authorised push payment scams by collaborating with telecommunications and technology companies to stop fraud at source before victims lose money.

The PSR says that “In the meantime, banks and building societies should continue to develop their fraud detection and prevention arrangements to respond to the ongoing risk of fraud to their customers”.

So, what does this mean?

Banks are utilising many tools to help mitigate the impact of APP scam fraud and stop their consumers from being robbed of their money. Traditionally, not only would the sending bank have sole responsibility for investing in these solutions, but they’re also then 100% liable for reimbursing their consumers that fall victim to fraud.

With the PSR’s proposal, the liability will sit jointly between the sending and beneficiary bank meaning it’s not solely the sending bank’s job to mitigate the fraud and protect their consumers. With this change, we should see more protection for consumers and businesses as now multiple banking fraud systems could be looking at a single transaction rather than just the original sending bank.

How can Sekura Mobile Intelligence help?

Sekura provides unique insight to banks and financial institutions by leveraging data held by all the mobile network operators in the UK. Access to many mobile attributes can highlight any suspicious activity that is occurring at the point of transaction that could aid in stopping fraud and protecting consumers.

By employing Sekura’s single SAFr API, banks and other financial services companies can significantly reduce fraudulent transactions before they happen by having access to real-time mobile data intelligence on SIM swap, scam detection, device possession and ownership and other vital anti-fraud information, saving the cost of sharing the burden of reimbursing the consumer.


With coverage across 5 continents, Sekura Mobile Intelligence is the leading global provider of mobile data, providing trusted, secure and easy-to-consume solutions for ID verification, anti-fraud and secure online authentication use cases.

Sekura works with established KYC, identity verification and risk data providers who have already integrated into leading global brands with demand for mobile identity solutions.

Through the integration of real-time mobile data into our partners’ existing services, we enable them to extend and enhance their customer offerings into new services, use cases and geographies through the adoption of SAFr, our single standards-based, mobile intelligence API.

To offer your customers the opportunity to benefit from our global mobile identity solutions, contact the Sekura team today.