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Tesco Bank hack: Are you affected and what should you do?

How to find out if you're one of the 20,000 account holders who lost up to £700 to fraudsters

Tesco Bank has confirmed that 20,000 customers had as much as £700 taken from their accounts over the past weekend. It's the latest in growing trend of companies being targeted by fraudsters.

Here's everything you need to know.

What has happened?

It became clear over the weekend that a number of Tesco Bank's current-account holders could not make online payments, with suggestions of widespread fraud and a backlogs jamming customer service lines.

The bank says it fell victim to online criminal activity. Tesco spotted suspicious activity on accounts on Saturday evening and texted customers who had been affected. Several people have reported that their accounts show transactions made overseas, such as in Spain and Brazil. A criminal investigation has been launched.

How will I know if I'm affected?

Tesco should have notified you already if your account is one of those identified as being at risk. "Tesco says it will contact all those affected by the scam via text [message]," says The Sun.

If you have been hit, you'll probably find you can't make online payments at the moment, although you should still be able to use your card for chip-and-pin transactions.

If you bank with Tesco and have not been contacted, it's still worth checking your account for any unusual activity. "If all transactions are familiar, it is highly likely that you have not been affected.

So I'm in the clear if my money is still there?

Certainly for now. But as Tesco has released no details of how the breaches happened, keep an eye on things, especially as some customers have had up to £700 apparently reported missing from online accounts..

Tesco doesn't know what happened?

They may well do, but they've not disclosed anything yet

"It could be… that people have been attaching skimming devices, card readers and cameras specifically to Tesco's cash point machines, so that they've been capturing people's accounts there," he told the BBC.

"It could be somebody who works at Tesco Bank who's had access to the database. It could be somebody else, who Tesco have passed information to, and that information has been hacked."

What if I am affected?

If Tesco hasn't already contacted you, then you should call the bank yourself. It aims to refund all lost money in the next 24 hours.

Under Financial Conduct Authority rules, banks are obliged to refund money lost as a result of fraud unless they can prove you were negligent or the breach happened more than 13 months ago.

How can I protect myself in the future?

Without knowing what's happened, it's hard to pinpoint anything customers might be doing to leave themselves exposed. However, you should always keep your online account details secure, use passwords that are difficult to guess.

Never disclose passwords or other personal information in response to an email, phone call or letter purporting to be from your bank or any financial institution.

Ensure you have effective and up to date antivirus/anti-malware software running before you log in to your bank accounts

To some extent, your fate is always in your bank's hands: if its systems are hacked then your details could be taken. Most use encryption and other forms of protection to try to prevent this.

Is Tesco alone?

Absolutely not. HSBC was subject to a cyber attack in January, but it said it was able to prevent customers' accounts being affected, although it also had to block access to online banking for a while.

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