I wanted to tell my TSB fraud story as the method used by fraudsters to steal my money isn’t getting attention and, as a result of the lack of publicity, more people are losing money from their bank accounts. Whilst I’m sure I will get my money back, it is so difficult to get through to the bank due to the sheer volume of calls. I therefore wanted to spare others the frustration and stress that this situation has caused me.
Since the incident happened, I have been on hold for over 13 hours trying to get through to the TSB fraud team. I only spoke to them after appearing on BBC Breakfast News but it really shouldn’t have gone that far.
My TSB fraud story started on Thursday May 17th when I received a text message which seemed to be from TSB as it was in the same feed that I receive balances and other information from the bank. The message said that if I hadn’t made a payment of £1900 to Argos that I should contact them.
I immediately panicked and rang the number, giving my name and date of birth ‘for security purposes’ and during the conversation they said that they would refund the money paid to Argos – they just needed to send me a security text message with a code, which arrived immediately so I gave them the code and they then ‘refunded the money’. They advised me to change my Amazon, Argos and Ebay passwords and that was it, the money was back in my account.
It wasn’t until I got home from work later when I started to worry. I couldn’t log onto my internet banking as my password was not being accepted. I didn’t want to enter the wrong password too many times and get locked out, and thought I’d been keying the wrong characters on my mobile phone (I often press the wrong buttons!) so I followed the ‘forgotten password’ link. I was asked for my date of birth and told I would be sent a security code, which then allowed me to put a new password in. This is a new process as it hadn’t done this before the recent IT upgrade. Once I’d logged in I checked my transactions and there had been no payment to Argos. Instead, over £2000 had been transferred to another bank account just around the time of the phone call to ‘TSB’. My heart sank as I realised I’d been duped.
Now I know a lot of people will call me really stupid for falling for this scam, and when I tried to publicise my TSB fraud story on Twitter (to save others from similar misery) there were tweets aiming insults directly at me.
However, I did not divulge any of my account details, or online banking credentials. All I gave them was my name and date of birth. I know lots of my friends’ names and dates of birth but that doesn’t give me the skeleton key to their online banking!
The frustration, however, was only just starting. I immediately called the bank and, after holding for half an hour or so, spoke to a customer service adviser. He put me through to the fraud team, and I held for an hour or so before getting through to the ‘wrong’ fraud team! He had put me through to the debit card fraud team when I’d clearly explained that someone had transferred money from my account.
So I tried again, and the next customer service adviser was more helpful. She froze my online banking and gave me a freephone number to use for the correct fraud team. However, I still have not managed to speak with them over a week later.
As the fraud line was only open until 8pm I tried the next day but was on hold again for 3 hours before my phone cut out. This was extremely stressful, so I arranged to take a day off on the Monday to sit by the phone (an unpaid day off as I’m a self employed IT contractor). To cut a long story short, I was on hold for over 7 hours that day, listening to the same mind-numbing recorded message, but eventually the line was cut. This was after juggling handsets so that each one’s battery didn’t run out, and taking the phone to the loo with me in case they rang then. It was soul destroying!
I tried to raise the profile of the scam via Twitter, and thanks to Jeremy Vine retweeting my plea some journalists got in touch. A lady from The Sun has promised to take up my case with TSB and I was the subject of a full page article in The Times (click to read the online article).
Then the BBC news channel contacted me about my TSB fraud story and asked me to appear on their TV show via Skype. I initially said no but then was persuaded by a friend to go on the programme to raise awareness for others, so I did.
The only saving grace for me is that my main current account is no longer with TSB as I switched banks many years ago, so at least I have been able to pay my bills as usual. However, I won’t be able to sleep until this sorry situation is sorted.
What is so sad about my TSB fraud story is that I’ve been with TSB all my life. My Dad worked for them for 40 years and would be turning in his grave at the mess they have got themselves into. Hopefully I will be able to get in touch with them soon (or they will contact me as a result of the press attention) and I can move on!
Update : I was asked to appear on BBC Breakfast on Monday 28th May and as a direct result was contacted by TSB who have refunded my money. The investigation is ongoing as I want to find out exactly what happened in my case.
Thank you for reading my story – please do leave a comment below if you have had a similar experience and if I can pass on your details to a journalist then I will. I didn’t really want to be thrust into the spotlight but if I can use the contacts I’ve made to help others then it will have been worthwhile.
If you want to protect yourself from online criminals then do read my new post about how to prevent fraud – it can be time consuming but it’s much better than the hassle of picking up the pieces afterwards.
My website is not really designed for this type of post as it’s supposed to be a guide for fun things to do in the UK and around the world! If you’d like to read about something more uplifting with some pretty photos then click here to read my blog about the best things to do in the sunniest place in the UK, my home town of Bognor Regis!