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FICO Survey: Majority of US Consumers Have Been Contacted by Real-Time-Payment Scammers

FICO Survey: Majority of US Consumers Have Been Contacted by Real-Time-Payment Scammers

A new report from FICO found that the consumer impact of authorized user and push payment scams are increasing and top of mind for American consumers

Today, global analytics software firm, FICO released new research examining consumers’ increased use of real-time-payments (RTP) and the subsequent rise and impact of authorized push payment fraud, also known as scams.

The 2023 Scams Impact Survey surveyed more than 14,000 consumers across 14 different countries worldwide, including 1,000 in the United States, and found that while consumers are increasingly adopting RTP services like Zelle, Venmo and CashApp, the volume of RTP scams is rising exponentially while quickly becoming a serious threat for consumers.

“As real-time-payments continue to grow, scammers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to target more victims than ever before. Banks and consumers must work together to combat fraud in real-time,” said Adam Davies, vice president of fraud and identity solutions at FICO. “Consumers’ safety must be the first priority for banks by leveraging outside technology to stop scammers before they start.”

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The report found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (81%) have sent a real-time payment, with 86% planning to maintain or increase use. This shift in payments channels correlates to an increase in fraud, with almost three-quarters of Americans (72%) saying they received an unsolicited text, email, phone call or other outreach they thought was part of a scam. Nearly half (43%) admitted their family and friends have been victims of scams.

The rising volume of these cases of fraud is seriously impacting consumers’ wallets. The research found that of the respondents who have been victims of a push-payment scam, one-in-four (25%) have lost more than $5,000 and 46% lost up to $500. Additionally, 17% said they sent RTP for investments, goods or services they never received while 15% sent a RTP despite receiving a warning from the bank that it might be a scam.

Combating Scams is a Shared Responsibility

As RTP scams continue to proliferate, successfully combating this type of fraud is a shared responsibility between the consumer and banks. The survey found that consumers are willing to accept most responsibility, but still believe banks play a major role in preventing fraud:

  • 59% say they feel that they are responsible for sending RTP to a scammer.
  • 14% say their banks are responsible if they send a payment to a scammer.
  • 10% say the bank receiving the payment shares the responsibility.

While many respondents took responsibility for sending the funds, banks have a critical role to play in fraud prevention and ensuring the safe use of RTP. Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) believe banks should have better fraud detection systems, while a third (31%) believe banks do not do enough to educate them about scams and how to protect themselves against scammers.

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Lack of action from the banks can seriously affect relationships with their customers. The majority of respondents, 56%, indicated that if they were victims of a scam and dissatisfied with their bank’s response that they would complain to the bank while 17% said they would change banks and 9% would complain to bank regulators. Conversely, 71% of respondents said they would feel positive if a bank stopped them from making a payment because it suspected a scam.

While consumers are eager for their banks to take a leading role in stopping the increasing scams, they can also be enlisted to fight scammers. For consumers, sensible friction like questions and warnings at the time of payment can put enough pause in the process to help reduce scam losses. They should also pay close attention to their banking alerts ahead of sharing funds. Consumers said they prefer text notifications at 46% followed by phone calls (26%) and notifications through the bank’s app (13%).

“Education from trusted financial institutions paired with proactive, two-way outreach efforts can combine to create a powerful, layered approach to stopping scams,” added Davies. “Banks can avoid reputational and regulatory impacts by using the latest in fraud prevention technology, such as FICO Platform, which can help identify and stop existing and emerging threats before they can impact customers.”

For banks, using AI/ML-powered transactional monitoring models with built-in scam and fraud scores can help solve both authorized and unauthorized fraud. As consumers continue to embrace RTP and scammers leverage new technology, it is banks’ responsibility to give them the best experience with the least impact from fraud.

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