Tesco Bank has halted online transactions after money was fraudulently taken from 20,000 customers’ accounts over the weekend.
The British supermarket’s banking division confirmed that 40,000 accounts were hacked last weekend, revealing its anti-fraud systems had identified “suspicious activity” on some customer accounts.
Tesco has just under 8 million customers and roughly $10 billion in saving deposits.
The bank said people lost “thousands but less than 10,000” pounds but didn’t reveal overall how much money was taken. A pound is worth $1.24.
“We continue to work with the authorities and regulators to address the fraud and will keep our customers informed through regular updates on our website, twitter and direct communication,” Chief Executive Benny Higgins said in a statement. “We can reassure customers that any financial loss as a result of this activity will be resolved fully by Tesco Bank, and we are working to refund accounts that have been subject to fraud as soon as possible.”
By Monday night, all of the money would be returned, the bank said.
Banks must refund unauthorized payments immediately and refund any charges or interest, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, which financial services in the United Kingdom.
The BBC reported cards being blocked and long delays trying to reach the bank by phone.
Alan Baxter told the BBC that he had lost $745 from his account and only $27 remained.
“I’ve got food and petrol to pay for,” he said. “I have a delivery of coal coming tomorrow for our coal-fired heater and I won’t be able to pay.”
Robert Schifreen, editor of the computer safety website Security Smart, told the BBC that customers need an explanation.
“It could be, for example, that people have been attaching skimming devices, card readers and cameras specifically to Tesco’s cash point machines, so that they’ve been capturing people’s accounts there,” he said. “It could be somebody who works at Tesco Bank who’s had access to the database. It could be somebody else, who Tesco have passed information to, and that information has been hacked.”
Tesco is one of the world’s largest retailers with 6,902 stores globally, according to its website. It is the biggest grocery story chain in Britain but has other retail operations, and also financial services, telecommunications and an Internet service.
Tesco Bank formed in 1997 as part of a 50/50 joint venture between The Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco. Later, Tesco acquired the Royal Bank of Scotland’s share of the business.
Filed Under: Industry regulations