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How to Protect Yourself from Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud

Learn to protect yourself from Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud with tips, signs to watch for, and preventative measures.

Quick Summary


Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud is a growing threat in our increasingly digital world. This type of fraud occurs when criminals trick individuals or businesses into willingly making payments to them. The consequences can be devastating, leading to significant financial loss and emotional distress. However, by understanding the mechanisms behind APP fraud and taking proactive measures, you can protect yourself and your finances.

Key Takeaways

  • APP fraud involves tricking victims into authorising payments to fraudsters, often through manipulation or deception.
  • Common tactics used by fraudsters include fake bank statements, hacked emails, and convincing phone calls.
  • Recognising red flags such as urgent payment requests or unfamiliar payment details can help prevent falling victim to APP fraud.
  • Verifying the sender's identity and using secure payment methods are crucial steps in protecting yourself from APP fraud.
  • If you fall victim to APP fraud, it is important to act quickly by reporting the incident to authorities and seeking reimbursement.

Understanding Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud

Definition and Mechanism

Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud is one way in which fraudsters obtain funds that do not belong to them, usually through manipulation or deception. To do this, the fraudster often convinces or tricks individuals or businesses into sending funds into a bank account that is controlled by the fraudster. It works simply by tricking individuals and businesses into sending money under false pretences. This can be done by providing fake bank statements or hacking emails or telephone calls. Once the funds are in the bank account controlled by the fraudster, the funds are then usually sent into numerous other accounts to obscure the trail.

Common Tactics Used by Fraudsters

Fraudsters employ various tactics to dupe their victims, including:

  1. Impersonation Scams: Pretending to be a trusted entity such as a bank or government agency.
  2. Invoice Scams: Sending fake invoices that appear legitimate.
  3. Romance Scams: Building a fake relationship to gain trust and request money.
  4. Investment Scams: Offering fake investment opportunities with high returns.

Statistics and Trends

APP fraud is one of the most common types of fraud in the UK. According to recent reports, APP fraud losses totalled nearly 500 million GBP in 2022 alone. The losses to APP scams are expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% from 2022 to 2027, reaching a total of USD $6.8 billion.

APP fraud thrives because it targets the human element in payment chains. It's a confidence trick that fraudsters use frequently, reducing trust in the security of the banking and payment system.

Recognising the Signs of APP Fraud

Red Flags to Watch For

Recognising the signs of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud is crucial in preventing substantial financial losses. Fraudsters often exploit weak systems and controls to deceive their victims. Some common red flags include:

  • Unexpected payment requests from unknown sources.
  • Urgent or time-sensitive payment demands.
  • Requests for payment through unconventional methods.
  • Communications with poor grammar or spelling errors.

Case Studies of APP Fraud

Examining real-life examples can provide valuable insights into how APP fraud occurs. One notable case involved a business receiving an email that appeared to be from a trusted supplier, requesting an urgent payment. The business, not verifying the sender's identity, transferred a significant amount of money, only to later discover the email was fraudulent.

How Fraudsters Gain Trust

Fraudsters are adept at gaining the trust of their victims. They often do this by:

  1. Impersonating trusted entities such as banks or suppliers.
  2. Using social engineering tactics to manipulate emotions.
  3. Providing seemingly legitimate documentation or references.
Staying informed and vigilant can help protect yourself from the risks of APP fraud.

Preventative Measures to Protect Yourself

Before authorizing any payment, always verify the sender's identity. Contact the person or organization directly using a trusted method, such as a known phone number or email address, rather than relying on the contact information provided in the payment request. This simple step can help you avoid falling victim to APP fraud.

Opt for secure payment methods that offer additional layers of protection. For instance, credit cards often provide better fraud protection compared to direct bank transfers. Additionally, consider using payment services that offer two-factor authentication and other security features to safeguard your transactions.

Staying informed and vigilant is crucial in protecting yourself from APP fraud. Educate yourself about common tactics used by fraudsters and share this knowledge with friends and family. Awareness is a powerful tool in preventing fraud.

  • Beware of phishing scams: Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails or texts.
  • Protect personal information: Use strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and be cautious about sharing personal and financial data.
  • Keep software updated: Regular updates to your software and devices can help protect against malware and other cyber threats.
By staying informed and vigilant, you can help protect yourself from the risks of APP fraud.

What to Do If You Fall Victim to APP Fraud

Immediate Steps to Take

If you suspect that you have fallen victim to APP fraud, it is crucial to act quickly. Contact your bank immediately to report the fraudulent transaction. They may be able to stop the payment or recover the funds if acted upon swiftly. Additionally, change any passwords or security details that may have been compromised.

Reporting to Authorities

After contacting your bank, report the fraud to the relevant authorities. This can include your local police and national fraud reporting centers. Providing detailed information about the scam can help in the investigation and potentially prevent others from falling victim.

Seeking Reimbursement

While recovery can be challenging, some financial institutions offer reimbursement for victims of APP fraud. Check with your bank to see if you are eligible for any compensation. Document all communications and keep records of the fraudulent transaction to support your claim.

Remember, time is of the essence when dealing with APP fraud. The quicker you act, the better your chances of recovering your funds.

Immediate Steps to Take

  1. Contact your bank immediately.
  2. Change compromised passwords and security details.
  3. Report the fraud to the authorities.

Reporting to Authorities

  • Local police
  • National fraud reporting centers

Seeking Reimbursement

  • Check eligibility for compensation with your bank.
  • Document all communications and transactions.

Tools and Technologies to Combat APP Fraud

Fraud Detection Software

Fraud detection software is essential in identifying and preventing APP fraud. Behavioral profiles, biometrics, and risk-based algorithms are pivotal in detecting suspicious activities. Advanced tools like Stripe Radar and secure payment hardware, such as Stripe Terminal, empower businesses to prevent APP fraud by offering comprehensive solutions.

Role of Financial Institutions

Financial institutions play a crucial role in combating APP fraud. They must focus on preventing APP fraud by implementing robust security measures and educating their customers. Banks and payment companies have a duty to maintain secure banking and payment services, ensuring that customers are protected from fraud.

Innovative Solutions in the Market

The market is continually evolving with new and innovative solutions to combat APP fraud. Tools like Salv Bridge offer integrated approaches to fraud prevention, combining tools for fraud detection, decisioning, mitigation, and orchestration in one platform. These solutions help businesses stay ahead of fraudsters and protect their customers effectively.

To protect customers and maintain secure banking and payment services, regulators, banks, and payment companies all have a duty to focus on preventing APP fraud.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Current Laws and Regulations

The legal landscape surrounding Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud is continually evolving. New rules to tackle authorised push payment fraud have been introduced in various jurisdictions to curb this growing menace. In the UK, APP fraud is the largest type of payment fraud, both in number of scams and value of losses. Regulatory bodies are actively working to update and enforce laws that protect consumers from such fraud.

Role of Regulatory Bodies

Regulatory bodies play a crucial role in combating APP fraud. For instance, anyone providing a financial service should be FCA registered. These bodies set the standards and guidelines that financial institutions must follow to ensure the safety and security of transactions. They also monitor compliance and take action against entities that fail to adhere to the regulations.

Future Legal Developments

Several countries are taking steps to implement data sharing among one another to prevent fraud. The UK has taken the highest steps compared to other regions with the 50/50 Liability Announcement. It’s only a matter of time before other countries start implementing similar regulations. This is already apparent with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s proposed framework for liability sharing.

With the rise of real-time payments, it has become clear that fraudsters and criminals are taking advantage of the ever-present ‘human’ element in the authentication chain. The challenges that this presents requires a helping hand in the form of regulation to force an additional focus on transaction monitoring, specifically around incoming payments.

The Role of Financial Institutions in Preventing APP Fraud

Bank Policies and Procedures

A collective effort across the banking industry and beyond is crucial to protect customers and tackle the fight against APP fraud. Banks can implement a variety of measures to mitigate the risk of APP fraud, such as clear communication with customers, offering cool-off periods before payments are sent, and increasing due diligence around payment destinations. Higher-risk companies now include warnings in their communications, advising customers not to act on messages that request payment into new bank accounts.

Customer Support and Education

Financial institutions can play a crucial role in educating their customers on the signs and risks of APP scams. This includes raising awareness through online forums, workshops, and direct communication. Banks, non-traditional lenders, and PSPs can work with industry oversight bodies to commit to voluntary standards and codes to ensure good customer outcomes.

To protect customers and maintain secure banking and payment services, regulators, banks, and payment companies all have a duty to focus on preventing APP fraud.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement

Banks should collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies to track and apprehend fraudsters. This includes sharing information about fraudulent activities and working together on investigations. By doing so, financial institutions can help to create a safer banking environment for everyone.


Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud is a growing threat in today's digital age, affecting individuals and businesses alike. By understanding what APP fraud is and how it operates, you can take proactive steps to protect yourself. Always verify the identity of the sender, be cautious of unsolicited communications, and employ robust security measures. Remember, vigilance is your best defense against these scams. Stay informed and stay safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud?

APP fraud involves a criminal tricking a victim into authorising a payment to them through their bank or a payment service provider.

How can I recognise the signs of APP fraud?

Common signs include unexpected payment requests, pressure to act quickly, and communication from unfamiliar sources. Always verify the sender's identity before making any payments.

What should I do if I suspect APP fraud?

Immediately stop any ongoing transactions, contact your bank, and report the incident to the relevant authorities. Keep all evidence of communication and transactions.

How can I protect myself from APP fraud?

Be vigilant with all payment requests, verify the sender's identity, use secure payment methods, and educate yourself and others about common fraud tactics.

Are there tools available to help detect APP fraud?

Yes, there are various fraud detection software and innovative solutions in the market that can help identify and prevent APP fraud. Financial institutions also play a crucial role in monitoring suspicious activities.

Can I get reimbursed if I fall victim to APP fraud?

Reimbursement policies vary by financial institution and jurisdiction. It's important to report the fraud as soon as possible and provide all necessary documentation to support your case.

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