HSBC and Metro Bank join UK Stop Scams hotline


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LONDON, Sept 6 (Reuters) – HSBC, its online arm First Direct and Metro Bank (MTRO.L) have joined a hotline to report fraud as the cost of living crisis drives up the number of financial scams, an industry body said on Tuesday. .

Britain has become the scam capital of the world as more and more people bank online, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in 2020. read more

Stop Scams UK, a banking and online industry network launched a year ago, allows customers to dial 159 to report fraud to their own bank rather than having to find their number.

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Members already include Barclays, Meta, Microsoft, Google, NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, Santander and Talk Talk.

“Calling 159 will help people break the spell of the scammer, it’s an important piece of armor that customers can use to protect themselves,” said Baz Thompson, head of fraud at Metro Bank. .

UK Finance, a banking industry body, said there had been a 39% increase last year in fraudsters tricking customers into making real-time payments.

In terms of money, criminal gangs stole over £583million from individuals and small businesses, posing as a bank or other service provider.

“The cost of living crisis is only making the problem worse,” Stop Scams UK said.

Faced with soaring energy, mortgage and food bills, many more households will become vulnerable to scams.

HSBC, First Direct and Metro are adding 18.5 million customers to the 159 service, which now covers the overwhelming majority of UK banking customers, Stops Scams UK said.

Since its launch in September last year, there have been more than 150,000 calls to the hotline, and Britain has proposed an ‘online safety bill’ to help regulators crack down harder against financial scams.

Banks hope the bill will include clearer guidelines allowing them to share anonymized customer data to more quickly spot new types of scams, but it is facing opposition from privacy campaigners.

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Reporting by Huw Jones; edited by Philippa Fletcher

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