The Money Shot: Auntie’s infiltration

Credit card fraudster
Fiona Bruce was unrecognisable in a hoodie
"This is a cross-industry problem, particularly with us, and the telecom companies" Chris Popple, NatWest Digital
  • | by Kristian Dando

NatWest and parent company RBS haven’t exactly had what you'd call a proud track record when it comes to their IT back end in recent years.

It’s been an unfortunate catalogue of cock-ups and boo-boos – from customers unable to access their accounts, to direct debits going awry.

Now, the company has suffered an embarrassing break-in to its systems, and the culprit may surprise you.

It was none other than Auntie herself – the venerable BBC, namely the long-running afternoon consumer affair show You and Yours.

The programme was contacted by dozens of people affected by a scam in which fraudsters were able to access NatWest and RBS accounts online after pulling a stunt with a Sim card, and getting their details sent to a different phone.

It’s easy enough to work the scam and reporter Shari Vahl, keen to give it a go herself, was successfully able to infiltrate the account of a producer and transfer the princely sum of £1.50 to her own.

A flustered Chris Popple, managing director of Natwest Digital, said: "This is a cross-industry problem, particularly with us, and the telecom companies. We’re working with Financial Fraud Action UK to make sure we're communicating with each other... to make sure mobile phone security is as strong as it possibly can be."

It’s a timely reminder that when it comes to your personal details, trust no-one. Not even Auntie.

News in brief

Speaking of bank accounts, people in financial trouble can now choose a 100% fee-free current account should they wish. But here’s the rub – banks still have the right to move them on to accounts with charges.

Research from Santander has suggested that workers spend over £3,000 a year just to keep their boss happy, mostly on stuff like childcare, travel and lunches.

A report from Which? has suggested that consumers are spending over £400 more than they need to every year on energy.

On Covered mag this week

We delved deep into the murky world of prepayment meters, revealing how they’re causing misery to vulnerable people.

What does it take to succeed as a young entrepreneur? We asked four of them to find out.

Saucy new new Innovative Finance Isas are on their way – are they about to make common-or-garden Isas yesterday’s news?

Covered mag letters

Namaste, Covered mag friends,

I write to you this week regarding last week’s Money Shot.

Yes, it’s easy to be caught up in the trappings of wealth and chasing those pound signs. But for me, spiritual richness is a goal which is much more worth pursuing.

I’ve eschewed the daily grind and now make my way around the realms of the east, taking meditation classes and freeing myself of earthly concerns, surviving only on ‘spiritual wellness grants’ from dear mama and pops.

You should try it yourselves sometime – now, excuse me while I go and practice my downward dog.

Moonbeam Warrior, Nepal by way of Watford

Join us next week for another smash-and-grabbing edition of the Money Shot. Until then, send us your letters.