Last week, the Joint Fraud Taskforce – relaunched last year, as I reported at the time – rolled out a ‘victim checklist’ for the banking industry to “ensure[…] that consistent guidance and support is provided to victims… when they report a fraud.”
The new checklist was set out before the Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the taskforce, as a meeting on Monday 21st November 2022. Mr Tugendhat calls fraud “a hidden tax on people across our country” and he believes that “the banking industry has risen to [the] challenge and set a clear benchmark”, which he wants to see repeated for other industries.
By following the victim checklist, staff at banking institutions “will provide victims with the same guidance on”:
Development of a checklist was one of the ‘pledges’ banking industry members of the taskforce made in the Retail Banking Charter.
David Postings, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said: “Fraud has a devastating impact on victims, and the money stolen funds serious organised crime. The industry’s primary focus is on stopping these scams happening in the first place and banks have invested heavily in advanced technology to protect customers.”
James O’Sullivan, Policy Manager at the Building Societies Association said:
“This checklist will ensure that consumers receive the same guidance when they report a fraud on their bank or building society account, irrespective of who their provider is. It’s a helpful step which is part of the bigger and ever evolving fight against fraud and the criminals that perpetrate it.”
A “helpful step” is a fitting description of the taskforce’s development and adoption of the victim checklist.
Having worked in the fraud departments of various retail banks in the UK, I know first-hand that their levels of support, guidance, preventative measures and refunds provided to victims of fraud have differed wildly.
While it is, of course, a positive step that the banking industry has led on benchmarking this fraud victims checklist, it needs to be implemented consistently to be truly effectively.
Personally, I would like to see this work taken a step further – I believe the checklist should be incorporated into mandatory banking regulations, which would mean fraud victim support would be given the focus it deserves. As part of mandatory regulations, the effectiveness of the checklist would be measured continually by regulators and the Bank of England.
Most importantly, making the victim checklist part of banking regulations would mean that it would have to be adopted by every banking institution and not only those signed up to the taskforce and the charter.
This extra step would demonstrate true support for the victims of fraud – and be an even better ‘good news’ story for the taskforce and the Home Office to promote.
If you need advice on any aspect of financial fraud – from fraud prevention to the recovery of funds lost to fraud – please get in touch with Ali Twidale, Banking & Financial Fraud Consultant. Ali is a Certified Fraud Examiner, and she will be happy to review your situation and put in place a bespoke plan of action to address your needs.