Scam victims in Suffolk who are tricked into transferring money to fraudsters will be better protected under government plans for a new law.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) will be able to require banks to reimburse authorised push payment (APP) scam losses, totalling hundreds of millions of pounds each year, under the Financial Services and Markets Bill.
There has been an explosion of such cases in recent years, with fraudsters often posing as officials working for banks, the police or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to scam their victims.
Currently, many banks have signed up to a voluntary reimbursement code, but there have been concerns about it being applied inconsistently.
The latest rolling statistics from Action Fraud revealed victims of online fraud and cyber crime in Suffolk lost a reported £17million over the past 13 months.
So far in 2022, there have been 1,184 reports of cyber crime in Suffolk, the figures revealed.
Suffolk Trading Standards said current prominent scams in the county include energy-sector scams – inflated prices for solar set ups, and fake Amazon alerts – where the victim is asked to open a new browser window because their account is blocked and the scammer conducts data harvesting.
Andrew Reid, cabinet member for public health and public protection, said online fraud and cybercrime is “far from a victimless crime”.
“Scamming is classed as a serious crime, with it being recognised that this fraud is a form of financial abuse against its victims. Sadly, criminals don’t care who they are scamming, as long as they get what they want by deceiving their target,” he said.
“This can lead to not only financial loss for victims, but also emotional distress, social isolation, a loss of confidence, and in some cases physical effects caused by the loss, shame and stress of falling foul of a scam. We know that scams have been shown to damage people’s wellbeing, making these far from a victimless crime being inflicted on the innocent.
“Officers from Suffolk Trading Standards remain committed to protecting Suffolk from malicious fraudsters and continue to use their vital social media channels and weekly email alert to inform and empower the public by raising awareness of scams.
“Unfortunately, scams are on the increase, making it more important than ever for people to play their part and report any potential scammers to keep themselves and others safe. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”
People can sign up to receive the weekly Consumer Champion email at www.suffolk.gov.uk/JoinTheFight and all scams can be reported to Suffolk Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline on 0808 223 1133.