picture of a yellow road sign with the words scam alert written in black

What is APP fraud?

Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud happens when an individual or company is tricked into sending money to a scammer.

While APP fraud is a relatively new and modern scam, only possible thanks to digital banking technology, instances of it are growing incredibly quickly, and many people have already fallen victim.

  • Visa research published in January 2024 highlighted that 1 in 3 consumers have fallen victim to push payment fraud.
  • The same research also found that 53% said it was becoming more challenging to spot the signs of a scam.
  • UK Finance’s Annual Fraud Report disclosed that nearly £460 million was lost to APP fraud in the UK in 2023 from over 230,000 fraud attempts.

How does APP fraud happen?

For APP fraud to happen, you must initiate a payment and transfer money from your bank account to another party via your online banking platform or mobile banking app.

The ease of making authorised push payments and the frequency at which many of us do so are likely contributing to the volume of APP fraud cases. Making payments via online or mobile banking is second nature to most of us, so we’re often on “autopilot” when doing so. But it’s the time leading to the fraud when you can usually stop it from happening.

Another significant challenge around APP fraud is that it can be a long time – potentially months or even years if you fall victim to sophisticated investment fraud – before you notice, which can hinder any investigation and make it harder to get your money back.

Is APP fraud the same as debit and credit card fraud?

No. APP fraud can only happen when you’re tricked into sending money to someone. In contrast, debit and credit card fraud occurs when someone steals your physical card or acquires your details from a data breach and then uses them to make fraudulent purchases.

What are the most common types of APP fraud?

While there are various types of APP fraud, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) defines them all as falling into two categories:

  • Malicious payee scams. An example would be a purchase scam, where you are tricked into buying something that doesn’t exist or that you never receive.
  • Malicious redirection scams. A commonly occurring example is when a scammer calls a target, pretending to be their bank, with the objective of getting them to transfer funds to them.

We go into further detail about the different types of APP fraud in our article Everything you need to know about push payment fraud, which explores and provides guidance on how to avoid:

  • Impersonation scams
  • Purchase scams
  • Invoice scams
  • Romance scams
  • Postal scams
  • Investment scams
  • Cryptocurrency scams
  • Loan fee scams

What can I do if I fall victim to APP fraud?

Along with the article shared above, our guide to spotting and preventing bank fraud outlines the steps you can take to avoid falling victim to APP fraud and what to do if you are the victim of a scam.

Can I get my money back after APP fraud?

It depends on the circumstances, and it’s impossible to say whether you’ll be able to get some or all of your money back without knowing the specifics of what happened.

However, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about contacting your bank and telling them you’ve been a victim of fraud. Even sophisticated and experienced investment professionals have fallen victim to APP fraud in cases we’ve seen in recent years, and there’s nothing your bank can do if you don’t speak to them about it.

As of July 2024, the PSR plans to introduce a mandatory reimbursement requirement from 7th October 2024, which may make it easier for victims of APP scams to get their money back.

If you’ve been a victim of fraud and your bank won’t help, get in touch!

Unfortunately, banks can be quick to fob you off and tell you it’s your fault and there’s nothing they can do – as if you needed to be made to feel worse about what’s happened!

If you’ve had a similar experience with your bank, contact LawPlus Solicitors, and we’ll see if we can help.

Our team of bank fraud specialists is on hand to lend a sympathetic ear and listen to what happened so we can try and get your money back. We understand how devastating falling victim to APP fraud can be, not just financially but emotionally, too.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation review of your potential APP fraud claim, and let’s try to put things right together.


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