Couple lost £9,900 to TV licence scammers after husband, 65, responded to a fake email asking for their bank details
- Jerry Tack and his wife Carole, of Hampshire, had two saving accounts emptied
- They were told they needed TV licence renewal and put details on an online form
- Building society Nationwide say they can’t reimburse because he gave details
A couple have been left penniless after TV licence scammers emptied their bank accounts in a ‘particularly nasty’ case of fraud.
Jerry Tack, 65, and his wife Carole, 61, had £4,000 stolen from two separate saving accounts, as well as £1,900 from his current account.
The couple, from Hampshire, desperately tried to resolve the situation with their building society Nationwide only to be told they couldn’t do anything because Mr Tack had willingly given his details.
The 65-year-old is one of 5,000 people who have been tricked into handing money over on the premise of a TV licence renewal in the last three months, reports the BBC.
Jerry Tack, 65, and his wife Carole, 61 (pictured together), of Hampshire had £4,000 stolen from two separate saving accounts, as well as £1,900 from his current account
The scammers, described as ‘particularly nasty’ by Action Fraud, use ‘official-looking’ emails with headlines such as ‘correct your licensing information’ and ‘your TV licence expires today’ in an attempt to convince targets to click on a link to a website.
The website then prompts them to add their payment details, including the Card Verification Value (CVV) code, account number and sort code.
The bogus web page may also ask for the victim’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, email and even mother’s maiden name.
How do TV licence scams work?
Reports made to Action Fraud show that fraudsters are sending out fake TV Licence emails regarding refunds and payment issues to people across the UK.
They will use headlines such as ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ and ‘renew now’ to trick people into clicking on the link within the email.
When a victim clicks on the link, they will be led to a convincing looking TV Licencing website. The website is designed to harvest as much personal and financial information as possible from the victim.
Although all the emails are different in style, they all lead to the same website which is being hosted on different domains.
The emails claim that TV Licencing has been trying to contact customers regarding the payment of a bill or a change to their personal information.
The fraudulent website will prompt victims to add their payment details, including the Card Verification Value (CVV) code on the back of their card, account number and sort code.
With this information, fraudsters could drain bank accounts and commit identity fraud.
It may also ask for the victim’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, email and even mother’s maiden name which suggests fraudsters will try to access other online accounts.
Source: Action Fraud
Mrs Tack told the BBC: ‘We were left penniless until the end of November.
‘Hubby and me fell out big time over it. I didn’t speak to him for about a week.
‘Christmas for us was a complete wash-out. I didn’t even put any decorations up – we didn’t feel like it.’
In the Tacks’ case, Jerry thought he was just renewing his TV licence and filled in an online form with some of his details.
Two days later a phone call came from someone pretending be his building society.
The scammers asked about two fake transactions and when he said he hadn’t authorised them the caller advised him to move his money into a ‘safe account’.
At this point he was sent a text message from the ‘building society’ with a code, triggering a password reset.
Mr Tack assumed the code had been sent by the person he spoke to on the phone and filled in his details.
The scammers then had full access to three accounts, taking every last penny.
When the couple realised what had happened they contacted Nationwide, who told them they had fallen victim to an ‘authorised push payment’ (APP) scam.
But because Mr Tack had willingly handed over the details, they have refused to reimburse them.
A spokesman said: ‘We’re very sorry that our member has been a victim of this cruel scam.
‘Unfortunately, despite warnings generated by our systems, the member gave away details to the fraudster and originated all of the transactions into the third-party account.’
A TV Licensing spokesman said: ‘TV Licensing will never email customers, unprompted, to ask for bank details, personal information or tell you that you may be entitled to a refund.’
The couple say they accept Mr Tack made a mistake, but expected more protection from their building society.
How are banks obliged to respond to fraud?
Banks abide by the existing laws, which clearly set out the requirements regarding refunds for authorised and unauthorised payments:
- Unauthorised payments (where the account holder does not provide authorisation for the payment to proceed and the transaction is carried out by a third-party): regulation 77(3)(b) of the Payment Services Regulations 2017 sets out that unless the customer has deliberately or with gross negligence failed to comply with their obligations then banks are legally obliged to refund unauthorised payment fraud within 24 hours. Customers make an important contribution to the effectiveness of bank security and counter-fraud systems by meeting their obligations under regulation 72, which are: using payment instruments in accordance with their terms and conditions, by notifying their provider promptly if they are lost or misused, and by keeping the personalised security features safe.
- Authorised payments (where the account holder themselves authorises the payment to be made to another account) are different. The law is clear that when a customer has authorised a payment, even if they are tricked into doing so, current legislation means that they have no legal protection to cover them for losses – unlike for an unauthorised transaction.
Banks also have a legal obligation to fulfil a customer’s request to transfer money even if they have warned the customer they are at risk of potential scam. Customers rightly expect banks to carry out transactions they have authorised.
Banks will always make every effort to help a customer recover any funds stolen through authorised push payment scams and will provide compensation to customers on a case by case basis.
Source: UK Finance