Tesco Bank freezes online transactions after 20,000 hacked

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Tesco (LON:TSCO) admitted on Monday that 20,000 banking customers had their accounts hacked over the weekend, losing money from their accounts after an attack by fraudsters over the weekend.

It was discovered late on Saturday that there had been “significant” fraudulent criminal activity on customers’ current accounts.

Tesco Bank has said that 40,000 of its current accounts had experienced suspicious transactions and about half had money taken from their account.

“We apologise for the worry and inconvenience that this has caused for customers, and can only stress that we are taking every step to protect our customers’ accounts. That is why, as a precautionary measure, we have taken the decision today to temporarily stop online transactions from current accounts. This will only affect current account customers,” said Benny Higgins, the bank’s chief executive.

“While online transactions will not be available, current account customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and all existing bill payments and direct debits will continue as normal. We are working hard to resume normal service on current accounts as soon as possible,” he said.

Many victims of the hack posted on the Tesco Bank website and social media saying they were angry with the length of time they were kept waiting when they called about concerns.

“I followed your instructions and after 3 hours was able to speak to someone … who wasn’t able to help and just took my name and phone number for someone to call back. No idea when that will be.” said one customer on the website.

Higgins said the bank will refund all losses and has apologised for poor customer service experienced by those who tried calling the bank over the weekend.

The Financial Conduct Authority says that banks must refund unauthorised payments immediately unless there is evidence that the customer was at fault or the payment was over 13 months ago.

Shares in Tesco were the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100, down 3%