U.K. bank TSB said it would refund its 5.2 million customers who were the victims of an online fraud scam.
According to a report in the Financial Times, TSB is aiming to rebuild its reputation after a difficult year that saw an IT migration go wrong. It becomes the first U.K. bank to say it will cover customers from online fraud losses.
Such fraud reportedly impacted one in four U.K. consumers last year. The guarantee by TSB will cover losses from fraud including transactions that are unauthorized or done when customers get tricked into authorizing payments to criminals.
Last year was a rough 12-month period for TSB after an information technology migration resulted in the bank compensating customers to the tune of millions of pounds. The bank’s pledge also comes as data released last week showed financial fraud against U.K. household and companies increased 16 percent in 2018. Trade association U.K. Finance said criminals got off with £1.2bn. The increases came both from traditional unauthorized fraud, in which criminals hack into customer accounts or cards, and from scams in which victims are tricked into transferring money.
“The vast majority of fraud claims across U.K. banking are from innocent victims of fraud, who have been targeted by criminals and organised gangs. However, all too often these customers must fight to be refunded and are not treated as victims of crime,” TSB Executive Chairman Richard Meddings said in the report. “We want to provide peace of mind to our customers … if a TSB customer innocently suffers a fraud loss on their account after being targeted by a criminal, we’ll cover it.”
In the report, TSB said bank fraud is a growing problem that is having a “devastating impact” on consumers around the country. “As people are increasingly going digital and online shopping has doubled over the past five years, the propensity for fraud has also increased as has the sophisticated means by which consumers are targeted,” TSB said.