A cancer patient has had her £29,000 critical illness insurance payout stolen, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal, as yet more cases emerge of TSB customers being targeted by fraudsters in the wake of its IT meltdown. But the bank has refunded her and pledged that others who've been scammed WILL get their cash back.
Gina, who is in her 30s and asked not to give her full name, told MoneySavingExpert she'd received the five-figure sum following her diagnosis with throat cancer, and was hoping to use the money as a deposit for her first home with her husband Paul before it was taken from his account late last week.
Gina's one of five TSB customers to contact us in recent days because they've been tricked into handing over a verification code which has allowed fraudsters to raid their accounts, often taking £1,000s. We've also heard from a number of other TSB customers who say they've lost money without having handed over any details.
TSB today pledged it would act to help those caught out by fraudsters, and said anyone who's been scammed as a "direct result" of its IT issues will be refunded. It's already agreed to refund Gina and Paul and vet Rachel, who we revealed yesterday lost £17,000 in a similar scam.
Are you affected by TSB's recent issues? See our TSB online banking problems guide for full help.
'It took me nine days to access my account – they stripped it in five minutes'
Gina's husband Paul received a text message apparently from TSB last Thursday saying there had been suspicious activity on his account and giving a phone number to call. He was dubious, so instead searched online for TSB's number and called that. But he says after two hours of unsuccessfully trying to get through he assumed the phone number within the text was a special fraud number and called that.
Paul was told there were a number of suspicious transactions on his account and to cancel them he needed to read out the six-digit verification codes he was sent during the conversation.
He told us: "The next day I checked my bank account and £25,000 had been moved from the ISA, and in total £29,000 had gone.
"It took me nine days of phone calls just to access my accounts when the [IT] fiasco was going on and it's taken them five minutes to get into my account and strip it all."
Since we reported yesterday that another TSB customer, Rachel, had lost £17,000 after a fraudster's call, we've heard from other customers who've had similar experiences. Emma told us she'd had a fraudulent call on Saturday in which her husband was asked to read out a code sent by text message – £7,500 was taken. And Julie said she'd had a text message then phone call from someone pretending to be from TSB's fraud team – £5,000 was stolen.
TSB says it WILL refund victims of this kind of fraud
While TSB has long said that no one will be left "out of pocket" as a result of its IT problems, it's been less clear how it would handle this kind of fraud case – particularly where a customer was tricked into handing over a verification code.
However, it today said it had already agreed to refund Paul, Rachel and Julie, and gave its clearest statement yet pledging to help victims.
A spokesperson told MoneySavingExpert: "Protecting our customers' money is our number one priority and our fraud detection systems are monitoring customers' accounts and we're on the lookout for suspicious activity. We have a specialist team dedicated to investigating the issues reported.
"If customers have been a victim of fraud as a direct result of our recent IT issues they won't be left out of pocket."
TSB's promised to take the fallout from its IT problems into account when looking at fraud cases, though it says each must be examined separately to ensure the claimant is a genuine victim of fraud.
I've lost money – what can I do?
The first step is to contact TSB on its 03459 758 758 fraud hotline – though some customers are reporting very long wait times. You can also report your case to Action Fraud as well as TSB.
If you're unhappy with TSB's response, you can escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
I didn't authorise money leaving my account – what are my rights?
Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says money can only be legally taken from your account if you have authorised the transaction – and if you did not authorise a particular payment, you can claim a refund.
It says in most cases the bank must refund the payment without "undue delay" and by the end of the business day following the day on which it became aware of the problem. The exception to this is if it has reasonable grounds for suspecting you have acted fraudulently.
When your bank refunds an unauthorised payment it must also refund any charges and interest you have paid because of the unauthorised transaction.
Your bank can generally only refuse a refund for an unauthorised payment if:
- It can prove you authorised the transaction – though your bank cannot simply say that use of your password, card or PIN conclusively proves you authorised a payment.
- It can prove you are at fault because you acted fraudulently or because you deliberately, or with "gross negligence", failed to protect the details of your card, PIN or password in a way that allowed the transaction.
- You told your bank about an unauthorised payment 13 months or more after the date it left your account – so make sure you contact the bank as soon as possible.
We've asked the FCA whether handing over a verification code could be seen as authorising a transaction or deemed to be gross negligence, but it told us it cannot comment on specific types of transactions.