Bank slammed after fraudsters take £278,000 from Kirkcaldy woman

Santander has come under fire. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Santander has come under fire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A Kirkcaldy woman lost a staggering £278k to an Automated Push Payment (APP) scam.

The Kirkcaldy case was raised before the Treasury Select Committee this week as it took evidence from expert witnesses who said banks placed too much responsibility on consumers for bank fraud loss.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird has now lodged an executive complaint with Santander.

In July, fraudsters posing as Santander persuaded ‘Lisa’ to authorise the transfer of 14 cash instalments, worth up to £20k each, to a fraudulent account set up in her name.

The criminals banked a total of £278,000 – the woman’s entire pension fund – in just over an hour.

A fraud investigator who represents 80 victims including Lisa told the committee that banks had been too slow to implement security measures which would have prevented fraud.

And he revealed that, following Lisa’s case, Santander had introduced a new rule whereby, if a customer wished to transfer unusually high value funds they would now be obliged to instruct the bank by telephone first.

Commenting afterwards, Ms Laird said: “Santander has, at the Treasury Select Committee, been exposed for its security failings.

“It has quietly changed its transactions policies while stonewalling the questions I raised on my constituents’ behalf.

“The meeting laid bare for all to see why an overhaul of bank security measures are urgently needed to prevent bank fraud, especially given that, due to branch closures, customers are increasingly reliant on online and telephone banking.

“Liability has to rest with the banks because, as experts pointed out, that’s the only way they will be incentivised to put in place the measures needed to prevent fraud happening in the first place.

“Santander has implemented new safety measures now, and should act honourably by doing the right thing by customers who fell victim due to the bank’s previous failings.

“It can drag this out no longer.”