Explaining the Tesco Bank account attack

Chris Torney / 07 November 2016

Around 20,000 people have lost cash – what can you do if you’re one of them?

Thousands of Tesco Bank customers have had money stolen from their accounts this weekend following online criminal activity.

Tesco has now frozen all internet transactions while it tries to establish exactly how criminals managed to drain funds from its customers’ current accounts.

Reports suggest that around 20,000 people have lost cash while a total of 40,000 accounts saw suspicious activity – including thefts – late on Saturday and early Sunday morning.

Find out how to stay safe online

What’s the scenario if you’ve been targeted?

Although Tesco Bank customers are not able at the moment to make transfers from their online accounts, they can still use their debit cards to pay for goods in shops and to make withdrawals from cash machines – provided there are sufficient funds remaining in their accounts.

Direct debits and standing orders will continue to be paid from the accounts affected.

The bank says that it will refund account holders “as soon as possible”, while chief executive Benny Higgins this morning told the BBC’s Today Programme “Any financial loss that results from this fraudulent activity will be borne by the bank: customers are not at financial risk.” 

Have you lost your money?

Under Financial Conduct Authority rules, banks are obliged to pay back any unauthorised or fraudulent transactions immediately, unless they can demonstrate that the customers have acted negligently, for example by keeping a record of a PIN number in the same wallet as the relevant bank card.

Online shopping and banking

In general, people who use internet banking are warned not to give their account or personal details out after being contacted by email or phone by someone claiming to represent their bank.

Five things your bank will never ask you to do

Similarly, customers are advised only to shop online through retailers they know well and trust, to avoid their card details falling into the wrong hands.

Six tips for safer online shopping

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.