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Losses caused by APP scams expected to increase by 85% in India by 2026: Scamscope report

Authorized Push Payment (APP) fraud losses are expected to climb to $612 million in India by 2026 from $330 million in 2021— a record CAGR of 13.15% — according to Scamscope, a new report by global payments software company ACI Worldwide and GlobalData, a leading global analytics firm.

APP fraud scams* involve fraudsters tricking their victims into willingly making large bank transfers to them – in many cases, this happens via social engineering across social media networks or via telephone. The growth of real-time payments has given rise to this new type of fraud, which in many markets is growing at a much faster rate than card fraud.

“Despite educative and preventative mechanisms adopted by banks, stories of victims falling to APP scams continue to be an issue. While there is an increasing awareness of these scams, fraudsters are also evolving their modus operandi. In such a scenario, sufficient flexibility is needed by banks to dynamically define and update the rules that govern risk. Not only will this help in increasing the detection accuracy of such frauds, but also help in addressing them before they are carried out,” remarked Ankur Saxena, Country Leader – India & South Asia, ACI Worldwide.

In 2022, one quarter (25%) of fraudulent transactions in India are valued between INR 50,001 and INR 100,000, and a further 19% are valued between INR 20,001 and INR 50,000. Together, these ranges make up around 44% of the total instances of fraud in the country.

Despite the rising concern around fraudulent payment activities, almost a third of the victims in India continue to show high brand loyalty after they have been victims of APP scams and are more likely to choose to keep their account open, the report further reveals.

Scamscope looks at the most prevalent types of APP scams in three geographies – India, US, and the UK. According to the report, Product (37.8%), Romance (18.4%) and Investment scams (16.3%) are the most commonly reported APP scams across all three geographic markets. The report also provides recommendations for financial institutions to address APP frauds:

  • Banks must get ahead of incoming regulatory changes and strengthen and optimize both processes and technologies in the fight against APP scams.
  • Robust technology solutions are needed for the collection of more and better customer data – behavioral data is key to tackling social engineering.
  • Better collaboration: banks at the initiating and receiving ends of transactions must collaborate more closely to better understand where money is being sent and why. That means creating a network of intelligence based on the sharing of fraud signals in metadata format, and in real time.
  • Banks must get serious about disrupting mule account networks. That means monitoring money coming into as well as out of customers’ accounts and analyzing the behavior of those accounts.

Commenting on the report, Sam Murrant, senior payments analyst, GlobalData, said, “Although there are indications that banks are taking the necessary steps to combat the new fraud threat, they must not be complacent regarding these risks. Aside from the direct cost of fraud losses, the lack of regulatory protections around reimbursing consumers for APP fraud losses means there is a potential loss of trust, and thus customers, from APP fraud.”

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