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As Brits become more concerned by fraud during Covid-19 outbreak | TSB Bank

16th April 2020

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1 Consumer omnibus (2,000 UK adults) conducted by Opinium in April 2020. 2 TSB announces UK’s first Fraud Refund Guarantee, April 2019 3 UK Finance, March 2020 with industry average of 41% for bank transfer fraud reimbursement 4 Average loss calculated via UK Finance March 2020



  • Over two fifths¹ of Brits suspect they’ve been targeted by phishing attack during Covid-19 outbreak
  • Outbreak has seen a significant spike in fraudulent activity, with the Home Office warning of a rise in fraud
  • One in 10 Brits know someone who has been scammed since the virus outbreak
  • Over two fifths (43%) are more concerned about elderly relatives or friends being scammed during the outbreak
  • TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee² means all innocent Covid-19 fraud victims are protected by unique industry reimbursement pledge – with 99% reimbursed since April last year
New findings from TSB reveal that over two fifths of Brits (42%) suspect they have been targeted by a phishing attack during the Covid-19 outbreak, which further demonstrates the importance of TSB’s unique industry pledge to fully reimburse all innocent customers, including business banking customers, should they ever fall victim to fraud.
During this heightened period of fraud many people say they’ve noticed an increase in the amount of communication they have received from third parties, such as their bank (42%), council (33%), their internet provider (26%) and HMRC (16%).
Over two fifths (42%) of respondents suspect they’ve recently been targeted by fraudsters via email (phishing), just under three in 10 (29%) by phone and 28 percent by text.
Over one in 10 (12%) people know someone who has fallen victim to fraud since the coronavirus pandemic began, while one in 20 (5%) know of more than one person falling victim.
Alarmingly, TSB found that almost three in 10 (29%) respondents thought it was unlikely that a common tactic used by fraudsters would allow them to drop scam text messages into an existing chain, mimicking a third party – suggesting they could be left vulnerable to this sort of fraudulent attack if targeted.
In addition, the research suggests that many others could run the risk of being fooled by another common tactic – where fraudsters ask people to carry out a ‘test payment’ from their bank account to a fraudulent one. Almost one in six (17%) believe this is unlikely to be part of a scam, when in reality it is a common tactic used to trick of people out of their money.

Vital reimbursement pledge

This week, TSB marks the anniversary of its Fraud Refund Guarantee, which has seen the Bank reimburse 99 percent of all bank transfer fraud cases since April last year – double the industry average3.
TSB’s unique pledge was borne out of its recognition that fraud has become increasingly sophisticated and difficult for customers to protect themselves against and is especially crucial during the current heightened period of fraudulent activity.
TSB rejected just one percent of cases where the customer was found to be complicit in the case and subsequently passed the details on to the Police.
Fraud can be devastating – with the average cost to victims across the banking sector at £2,763.804.
Over the year, TSB has reimbursed all innocent victims from a 16-year old right up to a 93-year old victim, offering support that goes above and beyond standard industry pledges.

Heightened concerns for the elderly

The nation’s elderly population – most of whom are now self-isolating – are also at risk from opportunistic criminals, preying on uncertainty and increasing isolation.
Two in five (43%) people say they have become more concerned that an elderly family member or friend may be targeted since the outbreak of coronavirus.
Of those who know someone who has been defrauded in the past, two fifths (40%) of victims were over the age of 61.
Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, said: “Fraudsters are exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak with increasingly complex scams designed to prey on the nation’s fears and changing circumstances, as they tailor their methods and ramp up attacks to trick people out of their hard-earned money.
Losses to fraud can be devastating, and I’m proud to say that all innocent victims banking with TSB have had their money returned to them – as we believe victims deserve the financial help and support to get their lives back on track again.
TSB also continues to invest in new fraud prevention technology to stop fraud in its tracks, as well as forming partnerships with Police forces across the country to break up the criminal gangs behind the attacks”.


Notes to editors


1 Consumer omnibus (2,000 UK adults) conducted by Opinium in April 2020.


TSB has invested in new confirmation of payee technology through a partnership with Vocalink and will implement the measures in 2020 Top tips on how to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Smishing: Fraudsters can ‘spoof’ text messages to look like they’ve originated from someone they haven’t i.e. the government, the World Health Organisation or your local doctors' surgery. Don’t click on any links provided in text messages, and make sure you verify any telephone numbers given before calling.
  • Phishing: Covid-19 tax refund, refunds from your travel bookings, safety advice via email and donation requests are all ways in which fraudsters could try and make you click on dodgy links, or make you part with sensitive personal and financial information. Always stop and think about what you are being asked to do, and if you have any doubts, talk to family or friends. And don’t open attachments.
  • Vishing: Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls. Don’t be afraid to put the phone down if you can’t verify the caller and guard your details. Appearances can be deceptive, so if you have concerns, call the organisation back on the number listed on their website, or if it’s your bank, use the number on the back of your card.

TSB has invested in new confirmation of payee technology through a partnership with Vocalink and will implement the measures in 2020

Top tips on how to protect yourself from fraud

Consumers are reminded to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and remember that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Further information on the Fraud Refund Guarantee

TSB customers will need to contact the bank to report fraud by calling the number on the back of their card or 0800 096 8669, and TSB continues to robustly investigate the circumstances of the claim and how the fraud has happened. This enables us to give good advice to customers to keep them safe, as well as supporting our work with law enforcement.
TSB will not repay losses that arise due to first party fraud, or where the customer is acting illegally. Customers that abuse the Fraud Refund Guarantee, for example by repeatedly ignoring account safety advice, may be excluded from the Guarantee.
TSB will not refund losses for retrospective claims; the Fraud Refund Guarantee applies to fraud losses incurred on or after Sunday 14 April 2019.
The guarantee covers authorised and unauthorised transactions for claims meeting the criteria; for authorised transactions the guarantee is limited to £1 million per claim.