A SMALL-business owner who lost almost £20,000 to an online scam has slammed his bank for its lack of support.
Small Dole firm Truffles bakery, which has branches in Shoreham and Steyning, lost £19,600 when its NatWest account was raided in a phishing scam.
The bank has refused to accept responsibilty for the heist, claiming the firm was at fault.
Criminals got into the company’s computer using a virus planted in a fake email from HMRC.
When the email was opened, the fraudsters could view data being input on the computer, including the firm’s online-banking password and pin code.
Using this data they stole almost £20,000 by transferring it to another account.
Owner Peter Tompsett said: “My business has had this happen while in the care of NatWest and they have just turned a blind eye and added insult to injury by basically saying we asked for it.”
“I’m really upset about it to be honest. It’s a lot of money for us. We have worked hard over the summer to turn the business around in difficult circumstances.
“I feel very, very let down.”
General manager Gabby Taylor made an online payment on Friday, September 20, and found on the Monday morning the money had gone.
Despite reporting the theft to NatWest immediately, she says the bank took two weeks to investigate, only to blame her for being negligent.
NatWest said Truffles had been the victim of a sophisticated fraud and claimed Gabby had accidentally given access codes to the thieves.
The bank said it regularly warned customers it would never ask for the full code.
The scam works by tricking the customer into thinking they are using the bank’s secure online system, when in fact they are giving the criminals all the data they need.
Gabby said a number of firms from across the country had since contacted her to say they had been victims of the same fraud.
She said: “We are gutted. We employ nearly 200 local people who are paid weekly and this has taken a huge amount out of our cash flow.
NatWest offered the firm a loan to help cover the loss, but Truffles said this was ‘an attempt to profit from its misfortune’.