Santander to block certain payments after increase in scam victims

Adam Rickitt on how scammers drained 50k from his bank account

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Santander said that the move comes after it has seen a “large increase” in UK customers being victims of cryptocurrency fraud and scams over the recent months. From November 15, customers of the high street bank will be restricted to a £1,000 limit per cryptocurrency transaction. They will also only be allowed to spend £3,000 in any rolling 30 days period.

Santander stated that these limits will be applied to each Santander account and will cover both online and mobile banking payments.

Santander noted that the changes will not prevent payments from cryptocurrency exchanges from being received.

Santander explained that the payment limitations will not apply to payments made into cryptocurrency exchanges with credit and debit cards, through telephone banking, in Santander branches, and through third-party provider payments through open banking.

The high street bank stated that people who have previously paid for cryptocurrency will be given “advance notice” of the upcoming payment limitations.

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Santander is currently looking into blocking certain cryptocurrency payments however have not yet announced a date when this will happen and will notify customers in advance of the block.

This block will include telephone banking and in-branch payments in addition to online and mobile banking.

Santander said it will “continue” to keep its position under review and will continue to keep customers updated on future changes.

It did, however, add that each bank in the UK makes its own decision with regard to cryptocurrency scam protections for customers and that it was not the first in the UK to introduce restrictions on customers’ payments to cryptocurrency exchanges.

A Santander spokesperson said: “Keeping our customers safe from cryptocurrency scams is a top priority, so we have decided to limit the amount of money customers can pay through online and mobile banking from their Santander accounts into cryptocurrency exchanges from November 15.

“We intend to further protect customers by blocking all faster payments we identify to cryptocurrency exchanges from Santander accounts – this will be implemented during the course of 2023.”

Last year, Natwest Group capped the daily amount customers could send to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Santander has previously warned its customers about cryptocurrency scams with the bank issuing a warning about fake celebrity-endorsed crypto scams earlier this year.

In June, Santander data revealed that the average amount lost to a cryptocurrency scam in the first quarter of this year was around £11,000, this was an increase of 65 percent year on year.

It also saw a 61 percent increase in the volume of scams between the end of 2021 and the first few months of 2022.

Based on the current growth, Santander expected an 87 percent increase in celebrity-endorsed cryptocurrency scams in 2022 compared to 2021.

Santander has urged its customers to be vigilant and frequently shares ways people can spot scams on its Twitter account.

On its website, Santander said: “Remember the following advice so that if someone contacts you pretending to be someone they’re not, you can spot them easily.”

The bank recommends people “take the time” to think about what a person is saying and urges them to end the conversation immediately if they are feeling any doubt or uncertainty.

They remind their customers that only criminals pressure someone for payment, and if this occurs then people should either cut contact or talk to friends or family for a second opinion.

Santander also reiterates that a genuine bank or organisation will “never” contact someone and ask for a card PIN or full password. It will also never ask someone to move money into another account.

Santander has compiled a whole range of advice on how to spot the different scams which are circulating in the UK, how people can best avoid falling victim to a scam, and what people should be wary of regarding scams e.g such as dodgy emails and text message containing links.

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