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Wednesday, 11 July, 2001, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Lloyds TSB customers hit by fraud
A number of Lloyds TSB customers have been hit by fraud
Some Lloyds TSB customers at its Commercial Road branch in Swindon have had their money spent in the Far East

by BBC News Online's personal finance and consumer affairs reporter Sarah Toyne

Thousands of pounds have been taken fraudulently from customers of a branch of Lloyds TSB.

The fraudsters used debit card details to plunder current accounts and spent the money in the Far East, Lloyds TSB confirmed on Wednesday.

The Commercial Road branch in Swindon was targeted by the fraudsters two weeks ago.

It is one of the first times that one of the big UK banks has confirmed a case of customer account fraud.

It is unclear how many customers had money taken from their accounts, though Lloyds TSB said that it was not more than 100 people.

The customers have now been reimbursed and had their cards reissued by the bank.

Lloyds said that there was no evidence to suggest it was an inside job or that its computer systems had been hacked into.

It also said that no other branches have been affected.

Cards were reissued and we reimbursed them upfront - a lot of them before they had been notified of a problem

Lloyds TSB spokesman

But it would not divulge how the money had been taken for security reasons.

Lloyds became aware of the problem when its Fraud department's early-warning system picked up anomalies on a number of accounts.

It then contacted those affected - reimbursing many people before they were even aware of a problem.

A spokesman said that its reaction to the fraud was evidence of its good security systems.

She said: "Cards were reissued and we reimbursed them upfront - a lot of them before they had been notified of a problem."

Those customers who weren't affected by the fraud have not been informed of the incident.

"We feel that there was no need to warn them. We do not want any scare mongering - this is just a small number of customers who have been affected, " said the spokesman.

Consumers lost millions of pounds from credit card fraud last year
Check bank statements thoroughly to avoid fraud

Card fraud is becoming a growing problem for banks and consumers.

It is estimated that thieves pocketed 350m from credit card fraud last year.

And experts say that getting hands on money is child's-play.

One popular method is known as "skimming".

Skimming involves sliding a card through a device which then memorises the numbers of the card's magnetic strip.

The numbers on the cards are then used to make copies which are circulate around the world.

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See also:

12 Apr 01 | Business
Net fraud scam foiled
20 Jun 01 | Business
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20 Feb 01 | Business
Credit card fraud rises by 50%
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