In a milestone victory for Money Mail, a major High Street bank became the first to promise to reunite innocent victims of money fraud.
We have long argued for banks to compensate people for being trapped to transfer their savings, and have been ignored – so far.
For TSB this week, cheated customers always said they were getting their money back – accumulating pressure on other banks to do the same.
Victory: We've been campaigning for banks for a long time to compensate people if they are trapped to transfer their savings, and have been ignored – so far
Money-mail from TSB, Richard Meddings, admits today: & # 39; The fraud-return policy has not remained on par with the scammers. You don't have to be vulnerable or foolish to become a victim. & # 39;
Fraudsters trick us from around £ 1 million a day – often by convincing victims that they are bank employees, and telling them that their savings are in danger and must be moved.
A total of £ 354 million was stolen last year in this scam, known as authorized push-payment fraud. But until now, banks had refused to pay compensation, claiming that the victims should have been more careful.
TSB now only refuses to pay if someone repeatedly ignores safety advice and is cheated time and time again.
Other large lenders have signed a voluntary code that instructs them to repay fraud victims from 28 May.
But financing for cases where neither the bank nor the customer is to blame is only guaranteed until the end of the year.
Richard Emery, fraud expert at consultancy firm 4Keys International, says: & I am very pleased that a bank takes the reimbursement of fraud victims seriously. I trust that other banks will do the same.
TSB has advanced from the official repayment model that other banks could have done. Customers from other banks who are victims of scams between now and May 28 would have a very good reason not to be happy if they are not repaid. & # 39;
But what does the milestone mean for you?
What are the conditions of TSB?
TSB undertakes to compensate all customers who are innocent victims of scams, with two exceptions. Those who commit the fraud themselves are not reimbursed.
Also, customers who are repeatedly cheated will not be after getting advice from the bank on how to stay safe. This does not apply to vulnerable customers and TSB says that the rule is flexible.
For example, it may refuse to reimburse customers who fall for the same type of scam twice unless they are targeted in different ways.
Are all victims eligible?
TSB's fraud-return guarantee is not retrospective – those who have been the victim of scams prior to April 14 are not covered.
Fraudsters cheat us from around £ 1 million a day – often by convincing victims that they are bank employees, telling them that their savings are in danger and must be moved
Will other banks help?
Customers from other banks are currently not entitled to a refund if they are misled by a fraudster. Banks usually refuse in these cases on the grounds that they approved the payment or were negligent with their bank details – even if they had no idea that they were talking to criminals.
Banks registered 84,624 cases of permitted push payment fraud last year, almost double the number reported in 2017, according to the UK Finance banking company.
In total, casualties lost £ 354.3 million, a 50% increase in 2017.
However, RBS, Barclays, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland), Nationwide, Metro Bank and HSBC have all committed to join the voluntary code.
Which schedule is the best?
Richard Emery says that TSB seems to describe more situations in which customers can fall victim to scams.
Banks that sign up for the new code may refuse to reimburse customers who ignore scam warnings, while TSB is not allowed to.
The code also checks whether a customer has tried to protect himself. The banks will determine this on a case-by-case basis.
Since other banks only found financing at the end of 2019, a longer-term solution is needed.
An idea is to pass on a charge to customers. Only Nationwide and Lloyds have promised to cover the costs themselves.
Emery says that banks have been aware of the code since 2018, and TSB has just acted on that, but with minimal exclusions.
How do I prove fraud?
Keep an eye on emails and text messages. Print a version for your records. Save the fraudster's account number and sorting code in case the bank removes them.
If you think you have become a victim of fraud, call your bank immediately. Insist on talking to the fraud team and tell them to contact the receiving bank immediately.
Report the crime to Action Fraud, the national cyber crime reporting service. Without a reference number, your bank may wonder why you do not want to report law enforcement. Action Fraud collects data to identify trends and criminals.
If your bank decides not to repay you, you must file an official complaint. If it still refuses, go to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The Ombudsman has raised the bar for what he considers to be gross negligence as a result of increasingly sophisticated frauds.
This means that if you are misled into giving away information, such as a password used to confirm payments, it will ask the bank to prove that you are careless.
- Complaint online at help. financial-ombudsman.org.uk/help, call 0800 023 4567 or write to Exchange Tower, Harbor Exchange, London, E14 9SR.
We need to track down fraudsters like the criminals they are
By Richard Meddings Executive Chairman of TSB
Innocent victims cannot pay the costs of fraud.
It is the stories, not the statistics, that touch you; people – normal, law-abiding, money-saving people – who have seen their life savings disappear in an instant.
Everyone knows that fraud is a growing problem, but nothing prepares you for the destruction it causes.
One of the many cases I encountered was an elderly couple from Aberdeen who called a fraudster's phone call and forced them to think there was a breach of their online banking. The crook asked them to transfer their money to a secure account and only a few hours later he had startled them out of thousands of pounds.
We need a hunting mentality when it comes to tracing fraudsters. The people behind these crimes are cunning and organized.
Financial fraud must be treated as the serious crime it is. Banks have a big role to play and they do a great job, but we all have to do more. It is not enough to say that this is a matter for the police to find out.
That is why TSB has set up a partnership with the Met Police – and is working with other local forces in the UK to provide more support and resources for this problem. Education is crucial, so we also invest in fraud awareness programs. But all this is irrelevant if you have already lost money in fraud.
More and more often we have repaid money in the past year if customers have made honest mistakes. But what we need now is to go one step further: we need a clear policy that protects customers and ensures that innocent victims are not left out of the bag after being scammed.
Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are always developing new ways to attack customers. So while we continue to invest in fraud detection measures, they are not enough in themselves.
The fraud restitution policy has simply not remained on par with the scammers. You don't have to be vulnerable or foolish to become a victim. All too often, customers have to fight to be reimbursed and are not treated sympathetically.
For all these reasons, TSB is the first bank that has issued a guarantee that any innocent customers who in the future will fall victim to transactional bank fraud will be reimbursed. We are incredibly proud of this dedication.