Last week I became the victim of that most 21st century of crimes.
Debit card fraud.
It started like any other Friday really. I came into work. Pretending to work for a few hours and then popped into town to buy a Euromillions ticket because my friend and I decided that I have about as much chance of winning the lottery as I do of finding a decently paid job at the moment.
I had some spare cash this week and had heard a rumour that Barry M nail varnishes were on offer in Boots for 2 for £5. My little eyes lit up at all the pretty colours and I decided to go mad and treat myself. For some reason the chip and pin device wasn’t working properly and the lady had to go back to the ever so provincial method of swiping my card and having me sign a receipt.
I then went to the cashpoint to draw out some money and when it spat my card back out at me without giving me anything the alarm bells began to sound.
Luckily for me, my bank has a branch very nearby so I ran into it and gave my card to someone behind the counter.
When her initial words were “Don’t panic but...” I immediately began to panic.
“Don’t panic but you need to ring the fraud protection unit immediately.” She said.
Racing back through town I got into the office and, with shaky hands, dialled the number. I discovered that my accounts had been frozen because some nasty pasty had somehow obtained my card details and had tried to use my card to buy something. When I asked how they knew my details had been stolen I was told that they had received reports from various agencies including the police.
“Don’t panic though, it’s all ok” he told me.
Why did people keep telling me not to panic? How is this not a panic-worthy situation?
I know it’s great that they caught it in time and I feel reassured that the fraud protection system appears to be in place and is working well. But it’s just a horrible feeling that someone has tried to steal from you in such an underhanded way. I know they don’t know who I am but does it ever cross their minds that the people whose details they’re stealing probably don’t have that much money to begin with? (That was probably their karma, goodness knows what they tried to buy but I’d bet an awful lot that I didn’t have the funds for it.)
I’ve been left scratching my head trying to figure out how this happened to me because the brilliant thing is that I am totally paranoid about card fraud. I only use my credit card for online purchases for that very reason and my card is used once a week when I draw out my weekly budget from a cash-point. I guess they maybe put a card reader on the cash point I used last week but I certainly didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. It’s a total mystery to me.
My card was cancelled and a new one is winging its way to me. If I want cash then I have to go into a branch with ID and draw it out over the counter.
The whole thing has left the nastiest of tastes in my mouth.
Damn you technology, damn you.