A TSB customer watched helplessly as hackers stole £9,000 of his wedding savings while he was on hold to the bank for more than four hours.
Ben Alford, from Weymouth, called TSB after noticing a £9,000 loan from another company that he had not applied for had been approved, and a £1,000 overdraft had been set up on his account.
He immediately logged into online banking and phoned the bank, but while on hold for four-and-a-half hours he saw £5,000 and then £4,000 taken out of his account in two transactions.
Mr Alford told the BBC: ‘Had they answered their fraud line promptly, none of this money would have been taken because it could have been stopped. I literally watched the money go out of our account.’
Ben Alford and fiancée Francesca Cuff had £7,000 of their wedding savings stolen while on hold to TSB for four-and-a-half hours
Mr Alford said: ‘I just felt helpless. It was like being robbed in broad daylight’
The account the money was taken from was set up in he and his fiancée Francesca Cuff’s name.
Around £7,000 of the couple’s own wedding savings were taken in the hack.
Mr Alford added: ‘I just felt helpless. It was like being robbed in broad daylight.’
Scammers used the SIM swap scam to access his account. The technique used involves convincing your phone network provider to swap your phone number on to a new SIM card the scammers own.
Banks using ‘two-step’ authentication text you a code to let you log in. But because the scammers now have a phone with your number, the authentication details are sent to them instead of you.
With that code they can log into your bank account, and easily transfer cash out of your account and into their own.
A TSB spokesperson said: ‘While our systems are safe and secure unfortunately fraudsters are increasingly sophisticated and looking to take advantage of situations like these.
‘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.’
Mr Alford is not the first customer to report a hack during the firm’s online meltdown.
Pictured: Paul Pester, TSB’s chief executive appeared to try to downplay the scandal in Parliament
A string of customers have logged into their online accounts to find their savings have disappeared in a series of payments they did not make.
They have then been left on hold for up to five hours when they tried to complain to the crisis-hit bank. Many have been left struggling for cash or unable to make crucial payments for weddings or house moves.
It is the latest crisis to hit the TSB after 1.9 million customers were locked out of their accounts following a botched IT upgrade last month.
Last night, TSB insisted there had been no data breach.
But IT experts said it was possible criminals were using the weeks of chaos as an opportunity to target customers. One theory is that they are posing as members of bank staff to convince frantic account-holders to hand over their details, or are sending emails to victims embedded with computer viruses that allow the crooks to raid accounts.
Campaigners called on TSB to take action against the huge phone waiting times faced by fraud victims.
Justin Modray, founder of consumer advice website Candid Money, said: ‘This seems like an absolute mess. TSB needs to try to rectify things for customers who have been treated so badly during this fiasco.’
Most customers affected by the fraud appear to have had their accounts raided in the past week.
Teacher Ewan Monaghan had his savings snatched by fraudsters on Wednesday. He received an email from TSB congratulating him on a new overdraft that he had not requested. He checked his and his wife’s accounts and discovered they had been raided. He contacted TSB’s fraud department and was left on hold for an hour.
Mr Monaghan, 39, from St Albans, said staff then agreed to freeze his account but refused to block his wife’s unless she made a separate call herself, which involved another lengthy wait.
The thieves also ran up a £3,000 overdraft in Mr Monaghan’s name, and he says TSB is charging him interest on it. He said: ‘It is unacceptable for banks not to keep our accounts safe. TSB do not seem to be fussed about sorting this out.’
A 37-year-old woman from Edinburgh told Money Mail that she feared a house move would be put on hold after her £70,000 deposit was taken by crooks. She also said she was forced to wait for hours on the bank’s fraud line.
Nicki Joynes wrote on Twitter: ‘Okay, my 74-year-old dad sat in a branch for five hours yesterday and is back today, £1000s taken from ISA and you can’t understand how.’
TSB said: ‘We are reminding customers not to click on any links or messages which they receive that they feel are suspicious.’
HAS YOUR TSB ACCOUNT BEEN HIT BY FRAUD?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Money Mail, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.
Customer’s sit-in over stolen cash
Charlie Sweeney refused to leave his local TSB branch after being left for days without help getting back £2,500 he lost to fraudsters.
The 53-year-old, from Largs, North Ayrshire, yesterday sat in the branch for five hours.
Mr Sweeney, pictured, said he had warned TSB that his account was being targeted by fraudsters after receiving a suspicious call on Wednesday from a man claiming to be from the bank.
After Money Mail contacted TSB, and Mr Sweeney’s daughter, Natalie, 24, posted the problem on social media, TSB refunded his missing cash.