November 17, 2021

Will we ever win the war on bank fraud?

“Some of the best entrepreneurs out there are scammers.”

So says Mark Steward, the UK financial watchdog’s director of enforcement, who was grilled by MPs this week about soaring levels of online fraud.

Whenever I write about this topic, the comments section fills up with remarks like “I’d never fall for this” or “How stupid would you have to be?” But the sad truth is that regulators have been fighting a losing battle against fraudsters during the pandemic as they find new and inventive ways to con millions out of unsuspecting consumers.

Worse, it’s a complete lottery whether the victims of these crimes will ever get their money back, as UK banks which signed up to the “no fault” refund code have wildly varying interpretations of how it works.

This week, MPs on the Treasury select committee rightly carpeted financial regulators about this — but is there any hope things will improve?


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