To protect their customers, UK banks may display a warning message when someone makes a first payment to an account they’ve never paid before, or if it’s a large value payment. It might look something like: “We couldn’t confirm the account owner – please check if you can trust who you’re about to send money to”.

Why would a payment sender get a warning message?

Banks display this warning in the following cases:

  1. The bank can’t perform a check of the payee account details (a so-called CoP). ANNA is not currently a participant of the CoP scheme, so sometimes when someone tries to make a payment to an ANNA account for the first time, they might get a warning from their bank. It’s just a cautionary message, and shouldn’t prevent the sender from making the payment.

  2. Banks also try to protect their customers from so-called Authorised Push Payment scams (APP scams or APP frauds) – a type of fraud when someone tries convincing you to willingly send them a payment in exchange for a product or service they don’t really plan to provide. As a result the sender loses their money, and since the money is sent with their own consent, their bank can’t help with getting it back.

  3. When a bank, using its own risk models, tries to predict suspicious behaviour and prevent unauthorised access to an account. In these cases the bank may ask the sender to call the bank and confirm their identity. However, this is a rare case.

The bottomline is: these CoP warnings were designed to prevent you from being targeted for fraud, but they can also be triggered by normal situations – and understandably, that causes additional alertness.

What should I do when I get a warning message like this?

If you got the account details from someone you know personally (like your business partner or a supplier that you have a contract with) then you can just ignore the warning.

If you’re sending money to someone you don’t know personally and don’t have an established relationship with, like an old acquaintance or a business prospect you’ve never met – especially if they’re hurrying you up – this might be the type of fraud that these warnings were designed to prevent. Please make sure you know who you’re sending your money to before you confirm a payment.

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