Barnstaple TSB is highlighting the Take Five Fraud Awareness Week and trying to stop the scamsters in North Devon

A North Devon bank is urging people to beware of banking fraud after three customers lost £6,000 each.

The Barnstaple branch of TSB is adding its voice to the banking industry’s national Take Five Fraud Awareness Week, which runs from January 22-26.

The Take Five campaign promoted by UK Finance urges people to stop, think and check before making payments or giving out details.

Manager Mark Sargent told the Gazette that in the last two months of last year, three customers had lost money to scamsters.

Mark and his staff are keen to raise awareness of fraud, which these days is most commonly known as ‘social engineering’, where criminals trick people into revealing financial details over the telephone, online or via text message.

In the run up to Christmas, Barnstaple TSB gave presentations at Age Concern and Petroc, and has been invited back to give more.

While the elderly are often a target of fraudsters, Mark said younger people could just as easily be targeted.

He said: “We had one chap locally back in November that lost £6,500 and he genuinely thought he was talking to his broadband provider. He was a younger chap, so anybody can receive these calls or text messages.

“In a six day week, we probably have a customer speak to us every other day about attempted fraud through the various scams.

“When I first joined the bank, fraud was all about dodgy cheques or stolen debit cards, this type of fraud is faceless.”

Top tips to remember are: never disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password; don’t assume an email, text or call is genuine; don’t be rushed – a genuine caller will wait; listen to your instincts; stay in control – don’t panic.

Fraud cost the banking industry £768.8million and Mark warned that customers can’t assume their bank will refund them if they are a victim of fraud.

He said: “Every case is looked at on its merits – if you have not taken due care and attention, the chances are the banks will not refund.”

Any organisations that would like a free presentation by Barnstaple TSB on bank fraud can email mark.sargent@tsb.co.uk or call 01271 299998.