MILLIONS of TSB customers will now be refunded if they've been a victim of fraud in a move the bank claims is a first of its kind.
TSB says its "Fraud Refund Guarantee", which takes force this week, will cover all types of fraud including bank transfer scams.
This type of fraud – know as an Authorised Push Payment (APP) scam – has seen a whopping 84,624 cases reported in 2018 with an astonishing £354.3million stolen.
Up until now, banks have been dragging their heels on reimbursing victims of these scams where fraudsters impersonating genuine people and organisations, such as banks, HMRC or the police, get you to transfer cash to them.
In 2018, victims only got back on average 20 per cent of what was stolen.
The Sun has reported how readers have been conned out of large amounts of cash and not seen a penny refunded, such as landscape gardener David Hunt who lost nearly £10,000 when scammers pretended to be from HMRC.
How to protect yourself from fraudsters
ACTION Fraud recommends taking the following advice to stay safe:
- When making a purchase, be suspicious of any requests to pay by bank transfer or virtual currency instead of safer methods, such as credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
- Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Don’t pay for goods or services unless you know and trust the individual or business.
- Personal information obtained from data breaches is making it increasingly easier for fraudsters to create highly targeted phishing messages and calls – watch out for these.
- You shouldn’t assume the caller is genuine just because they’re able to provide some basic details about you.
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information.
And grandmother Jo Wilson, who had her £40,000 life savings stolen by scammers posing as staff from NatWest.
Up until now, TSB says it automatically refunded victims of unauthorised fraud – where scammers stole victims credit cards, for example.
But victims of authorised fraud – where people authorise a transaction even if it's unknowingly to a scammer – have been dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
How TSB's new rules will work
But now TSB says it will refund its 5.2million customers if they've been an unwitting victim of any type of fraud – whether authorised or unauthorised.
In practice, this will see the bank refund victims of fraud with 14 days where the case is simple.
If it's more complex, further investigation may be required and there's no timeline on how long this will take.
TSB says the only scenarios where it wouldn't payout is where the customer has been complicit in the fraud or where a customer has been a victim of the same type of fraud time and time again and hasn't paid heed to warnings.
TSB is launching fraud education workshops
TSB is also launching a series of new fraud education workshops to help both customers and non-customers protect themselves from fraud.
These will be hosted across TSB’s network of over 500 branches, but key workshops will take place in the following branches:
- Birmingham, West Midlands
- Bluewater, Kent
- Horsham, West Sussex
- Hull, East Yorkshire
- Kirkaldy, Fife
- Lincoln, Lincolnshire
- Maestag, South Wales
- Midsomer Norton, Somerset
- Preston, Lancashire
- Romsey, Hampshire
- Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire
It's also worth noting that TSB's new rules only cover fraud that takes place on or after April 14, 2019 – it won't automatically pay out on retrospective claims.
Authorised fraud claims will also be capped at £1million.
The bank wouldn't tell us how it will fund the cost of reimbursing victims of fraud.
To report fraud to TSB you need to ring the same number as before (0800 096 8669) or you can phone the number on the back of your card.
How TSB's new rules compare to other banks
TSB claims to be the first UK bank to come up with its own fraud refund scheme.
Some other banks have instead been working on a voluntary code to better protect people from transfer fraud, which takes force on May 28.
But the problem with this code is its voluntary nature and the fact there's still no agreement on how fraud victims will be reimbursed when neither themselves or their bank is to blame.
TSB has yet to sign up to this new code saying it's still "reviewing" it.
The bank needs to turn around its fortunes and restore trust among its users after it took a battering from customers following a massive IT meltdown last year.
And only last week it renegaded on a promise to pay current account users 5 per cent interest, instead slashing the rate back to its pre-crisis level of 3 per cent.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
HERE'S what to do if you think you've been stung by a bank transfer scam:
- Contact your bank or card provider immediately to notify them of the fraud – urgency is needed so your bank can try and trace the money and prevent any further attempts to steal your cash.
- Notify crime reporting agency Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. If Action Fraud is able to look into your case, it will provide updates on its investigation. But even simply reporting fraud may help police as part of a wider investigation.
- Monitor your credit report for suspcious transactions or credit requests as fraudsters may try their luck again.
- If you're struggling to cope with being a victim of crime, contact charity Victim Support. You can do this online or by calling 0808 1689 111.
TSB’s executive chairman, Richard Meddings said: “The vast majority of fraud claims across UK banking are from innocent victims of fraud, who have been targeted by criminals and organised gangs.
"But all too often these customers must fight to be refunded and are not treated as victims of crime.
“We want to provide peace of mind to our customers, that’s why we’re proud to announce the TSB Fraud Refund Guarantee. If a TSB customer innocently suffers a fraud loss on their account after being targeted by a criminal, we’ll cover it.”
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