Sunday, 6 March 2011

Victim of Crime

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.


  1. Oh that is so horrible. It never ceases to amaze me how they catch these fraudsters, but then I remember my OH having to answer questions about why he was ordering something very out of character for him on the internet because the payment was declined and the card stopped (it was for me ooops).

    So sorry you have all the stresses and strains of this, and hope your new card arrives soon.

  2. Aaaw poor you *hugs* its a crappy thing to happen and sadly its happening to lots of people now.
    Banks need to get their overpaid arses into gear and sort it out!
    Em xxxxx

  3. Of course you're going to panic, it is the first thing any normal person would do. I try to only draw cash out of machines inside the bank rather than out of the wall outside, but mainly I pay for my groceries by debit card at the supermarket and request cashback at the same time. Hopefully there is less chance of their machines having been tampered with, but I guess you never know.

  4. Gits! Banks do seem to be quite hot on card fraud though. I know a few times I have been rung by the fraud dept of my bank if I have tried to pay deposits on holidays in France, or done some "unusual " spending. I'm glad it was stopped before it started. xxxxx

  5. Ah this happened to me a couple of years ago - right on Christmas too so it was a bit of a pain having to draw money over the counter. Nationwide were brilliant though and sorted it really quickly and I got all my money back. Didn't faze me much I have to say - I'd much rather that than have my house burgled. Hope you get sorted soon though, never rains but it pours eh?

    Now, two for a fiver in Boots you say...???

  6. Oh what a crappy Friday! Hope it is quickly sorted out for you

  7. What's the worse thing to tell some - don't panic! Honestly silly bank people.

    I'm glad they picked up on it though so kudos to them for that but you'd think they'd have contacted you once they knew rather than leaving it for you to stumble across.

    ((((((big hugs))))))

  8. My bank froze spending on my account last year because I tried to transfer some money for a holiday to someone. I'd logged in normally and answered their endless security questions so I have no idea how they thought I was a fraudster but it took about 7 phone calls to get it resolved and was deeply tedious. Still, I suppose I'd rather they did that than just let thieves steal my money!

    Did they give you any indication of how or where it happened? My dad's card got cloned a few years ago and they were able to tell him where it had taken place (dodgy Chinese restaurant)

  9. Something similar happened to Boyfriend a couple of years back, they tried to pay for flights and university fees abroad... and set up a couple of online pocker accounts at the same time.
    His bank was rather crap with sorting it all out, he got his money back, it was more in terms of getting a new card, they managed to cancel the new one they'd sent out, which left him in a little bit of a pickle!
    Anyway, it's crap but it's everywhere - i try to be careful too and avoid dodgy looking cash points, but sometimes there's just so choice...

  10. This has happened to me one too many times sucks but the good thing is you usually get your money just turns out to be a mega pain waiting around and the anxiety that comes with it.

    Sorry to hear you had to go through this - I'd almost say you're lucky to have lasted so long without having had such an experience!!! Anyway, hope you're okay! xxx

  11. It happened to me last year. In the end I got everything back and the bank were really good.

    Don't feel bad. It really does happen to everyone.

    (((The Girl)))

    ///bad people////

  12. It's not something to panic about because UK statutory rights protects you against credit card fraud. If you didn't authorise a transaction and it happened anyway, your bank is liable.... One more reason never to buy 'card insurance'.

  13. Oh wow, what a shitty thing to happen!

    Things like these make me glad I never have any funds in my account! :P

  14. So sorry to hear that. It's so annoying but it really can happen to anyone. I hope you manage to sort everything out very soon. x


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