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City lobbying group UK Finance is urging bank customers to be aware of criminals exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud.

In its latest set of data, it said authorised push payment fraud — better known as bank transfer scams — cost Britons £456m in 2019.

This was “driven in part by criminals abusing online platforms to scam their victims”. However, victims received £41m in compensation in cases assessed under the industry’s voluntary reimbursement code introduced in May 2019. And the banking and finance industry succeeded in stopping more than £1.8bn-worth of fraud attempts in the year.

UK Finance is now advising customers to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, to avoid scams seeking to exploit concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

This urges customers to pause before agreeing to make any transfer, and “reject, refuse, or ignore any requests” that appear suspicious.

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