Mastercard helping banks predict scams before money leaves customers’ accounts

6 July 2023, 00:04 | Updated: 14 July 2023, 09:17

A hand on a laptop
Fraudulent payments. Picture: PA

The payments provider said it is helping banks to identify and predict which payments are potentially being made to fraudsters.

Mastercard says it is helping banks to stop payment scams in their tracks, before funds leave a victim’s account.

The payments provider said that in partnership with UK banks including Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Monzo and TSB, it is using payments data to help identify payment scams.

Mastercard’s new tool helps banks to get an instant rating that shows the risk of a payment being made to a fraudulent account.

This is based on factors such as account activity and the relationship between the payer and payee.

Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, said: “We are helping banks identify and predict which payments are being made to fraudsters and stop them in real-time.”

Over four months, TSB said that Mastercard’s tool has increased its fraud detection.

Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, said: “Spotting fraudulent payments among millions made every day is like finding a needle in a haystack, with scams becoming ever more complex – so prevention and monitoring tools are key.

“Our partnership with Mastercard is providing the intelligence needed to identify fraudulent accounts and prevent payments ever reaching them.”

The Financial Ombudsman Service recently said it is seeing a higher proportion of complex scam complaints, with some involving investments or cryptocurrency.

It is seeing increasing numbers of complaints which contain the features of more than one scam.

For example, someone may be duped by a romance scammer who then persuades them to invest in cryptocurrency schemes which do not exist.

Or someone may attempt to pay for goods which do not exist and then receive a phone call from a scammer impersonating their bank who persuades them to make multiple payments by claiming their payment attempts have been unsuccessful.

Many banks are currently signed up to a voluntary reimbursement code in cases where blameless scam victims transfer money to a fraudster, but there have been concerns about this not always being applied consistently.

TSB has its own fraud refund guarantee.

Plans are under way to make reimbursement mandatory. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has said new rules compelling banks to reimburse scam victims who have been tricked into paying fraudsters will come into force next year.

By Press Association

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