Jane Hunt MP asked:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help banks and payment service providers to easily (a) identify and (b) prevent romance scams.
Andrew Griffith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, responded:
The Government takes the issue of authorised push payment (APP) fraud, of which romance fraud is one form, very seriously, and is dedicated to protecting the public from this devastating crime. Working alongside the regulators, law enforcement, and industry, the Government continues to support numerous fraud-prevention initiatives, including the Payments Systems Regulator’s work to enhance information sharing between payment providers.
Information sharing between firms plays a key role in identifying scammers and preventing scams. As noted in the Home Office’s recent Fraud Strategy, the Government, regulators and industry are working together to identify opportunities for greater information sharing to better tackle fraud ‘up stream’. The PSR has set up an industry working group, including Pay.UK and UK Finance, to agree what data could be shared.
In order to prevent APP fraud, HM Treasury is investigating amending legislation to enable payment service providers such as banks to delay payments beyond the existing legislative timescales in limited, high-risk fraud scenarios. This will allow enhanced customer engagement to take place. This could enable firms to take more of a ‘risk-based’ approach to payments processing.