Scammers target Icesavers
Scammers are believed to be targeting Icesave customers by posing as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and demanding sensitive bank account details.
The process to refund Icesavers kicks off this week, with inital emails being sent out over the next few days. However, the FSCS has warned people to be on their guard against fraudsters after its customer contract centre received reports that customers have been contacted and asked for their bank account details.
Mark Oakes, spokesman for the FSCS, says it has no need to contact customers by telephone to ask for this sort of information, as it has access to everything it needs to know via the Icesave database. He warns people not to give out their personal or banking details over the phone even if the caller says they are from the FSCS.
The compensation process is being carried out electronically, with Icesavers set to receive two emails; the first will outline the process while the second will be an invitation for people to log on to their existing Icesave accounts to complete a short electronic process. This will allow them to receive their compensation directly without the need to fill in an application form.
The FSCS is not planning on publishing information contained in these emails on its website amid concerns that scammers could plagiarise it.
The first Icesave refunds will start to be paid in the second week of November. Payments are being phased but people should see their money transferred to their nominated accounts within five working days using the BACS system.
The FSCS says it expects the vast majority of Icesavers to receive their compensation before the end of November.
If you don’t receive your first email from the FSCS by the end of Friday 7 November, then you should contact the organisation on 0845 7300 131.
Traditionally, people claiming compensation from the FSCS are required to complete a form-based application. However, critics warned that this method could mean months of delays for Icesave customers, due to the specific nature of the way Icesave is covered by financial compensation schemes. Savers have been promised 100% of their money back, and this will be funded by both the FSCS and the Icelandic compensation scheme.
Loretta Minghella, chief executive of the FSCS, says: "We recognise that Icesave's customers have been anxious about their savings. We would like to thank them for their patience.
"We have been working hard to establish a way of compensating retail depositors of Icesave without the need for a paper-based application process.”
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is the compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services firms. If a firm becomes insolvent or ceases trading, the FSCS may be able to pay compensation to its customers. Limits apply to how much compensation the FSCS is able to pay, and those limits vary between different types of financial products. However, to qualify for compensation, the firm you were dealing with must be authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
Created in 1968, BACS is a not-for-profit industry body, owned by 16 of the leading banks and building societies in the UK and Europe. All direct debits, standing orders, credit card payments, personal loans and the vast majority of salary cheques are processed through BACS. In 2010, 5.7 billion UK payments with a total value of £4.06 trillion were processed through the system.