Tesco Bank thefts shake consumer confidence

A Tesco supermarket is seen, in west London on September 30, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

Cyber theft from Tesco Bank has shaken public trust in financial firms, according to the British government.
Britain’s interior minister Amber Rudd said that the large scale theft of money from customer accounts at Tesco was not just a threat to national security but had also undermined public confidence in banks and other financial institutions.
A staggering £2.5 million was stolen from 9,000 Tesco Bank customers.
Cyber crime experts described this as the first ever mass hacking of accounts at a bank in the west.
Ms Rudd pointed out that financial crime and money laundering is costing the UK some £24 billion every year.
She added: “The recent example of Tesco Bank is a stark example of what we face.”
Speaking at a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) conference on financial crime, Ms Rudd said: “Public confidence in our institutions gets shaken by these sort of events.”
She said she also had grave concerns that London was developing a reputation as a global money laundering centre.
Officials at Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, which was launched just weeks before the Tesco thefts, are now helping the bank with its investigations.
The organisation will also be on hand to help Tesco Bank as it tries to recover and make sure its systems are more secure. It will also be carrying out investigations to see whether there are any lessons which can be learned by other financial institutions to try to prevent this kind of crime from taking place in the future.
The FCA says it now has plans to carry out random visits at smaller “higher risk firms” to try to make sure they have systems in place to prevent money laundering.
It is also asking smaller firms to provide information about crime risks and it is set to publish data collected during the summer next year, giving information about which countries are the riskiest places to do business with.
Rob Gruppetta, the FCA’s head of financial crime said he will be looking into methods to cut compliance costs, such as centralising monitoring of transactions in banking, making it easier for banks to share information, and no longer making money laundering reporting officers criminally liable.
While Tesco Bank has pledged to make sure anyone out of pocket as a result of the thefts gets their money back, many customers say they were left unable to pay their bills in the short term.

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Sam Dunis
Sam comes from Edinburgh and grew up with his mother and step-dad. His father left the country when he learnt he was going to be a father. Sam never had the opportunity to see him and still wonders what he looks like. School wasn’t his thing, he would rather spend sometime with his friends, play rugby and chat girls up. Sam used to help his step dad, a plumber, during summertime. After doing it for several years, he realized he could work with his father and hopefully take over the family business when his step-father would retire. Sam spends most of his time off taking care of his mother, training with the local rugby team. Sam doesn’t have any girlfriend at the moment. He is therefore going out every weekends.