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My thanks to the man in the Midwest.

Posted by Big John on August 13, 2008

One day last week I received a rather strange sounding recorded telephone message purporting to be from my bank, and asking me to ring a number about security.

Now my bank is always warning their customers about scam calls and e mails, so I telephoned their help line saying that I was a little suspicious about this call. They checked it out by calling the number and advised me that it was probably a scam as the person they had spoken to was unable to answer certain ‘key questions’. They advised me that they would investigate further. I have heard no more !

On Saturday I received a ‘phone call from a man with an American accent saying that he wanted to speak to me about a “financial security matter”. I was a bit abrupt with him, as I thought it was another one of those bloody sales calls trying to sell me some insurance or other, or perhaps even another scam.

To my great surprise he quoted the last four digits of a credit card which I sometimes use and asked me if I had used it to purchase around £600 (approx. $1,200) of items using the ‘Paypal’ payment system. It seems that the call came all the way from Omaha, Nebraska. I said that I had not and thanked him for alerting me before immediately cancelling the card and advising the bank’s fraud department … “Oh !” they said .. “We tried to contact you last week”.

Two days ago I received an e mail again purporting to be from my bank and advising me that my on line account … “might have been accessed by an unauthorized third party”. I immediately changed my password etc. and sent an e mail to the bank’s special ‘scam’ department asking them if this e mail was genuine. As yet I have not received a reply.

In the meantime my credit card account is showing £1,300 (approx. $2,500) of payments which I know nothing about, and for which I was advised I was not liable.

Now, I’m sure that this matter will eventually be cleared up, but I have to say that I am surprised that someone based in the middle of the USA was so quick to contact me in person, when my own bank, here in the UK, relied on a suspicious ‘computer generated’ voice message to alert me which their own employees seem to know nothing about.

To get to speak to a human being at my bank takes forever via their automated telephone system, and when you do eventually reach their call centre, little Miss “How May I Help You” is usually no bloody help at all, and leaves you wondering just how safe your money really is ?

Perhaps my dad had the right idea. He kept what little money he had …

…   in a tin box under his bed.  😕


3 Responses to “My thanks to the man in the Midwest.”

  1. Betty said

    This happened to me around Christmas time a few years ago. An agent from my credit card company called me because there was an unusually high amount ($1500.00)charged to my card and they were checking to see if it was correct. It wasn’t correct. Someone had obtained my account number and bought jewelry in that amount. The company took the charges off my account, closed the account, and issued me a new one. I really appreciated their attention to business.

  2. frisby said

    I just had one of those about easy to spot!
    “If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you. However, if you did not initiate the log ins, please visit Lloyds Online as soon as possible to check-up your account information:
    Thanks for your patie!nce.”
    The scary thing is if they send a thousand of those out, at least a few wallys will fall for it!

  3. I’ve three times suffered credit card fraud. The embarrassing thing was that I had my card rejected publicly before the company got around to contacting me about the matter. Not nice.

    Arguably, the worst case was when the Co-op sent me a book of cheques to be drawn on my credit card without telling me. I never saw those cheques but I did see the bill for £6,000 pounds resulting from someone fraudulently cashing 4 of them. You have to wonder how they did so, not having either the credit card or a valid signature. It goes to show that a lot of fraud is down to banks’ carelessness. Wouldn’t you scrutinize carefully someone cashing a cheque for £1,500? Not the banks, apparently.

    I reported to one credit card company that two cases of fraud had occurred days after I visited the same restaurant each time with a nearly new card. That seemed beyond a coincidence to me and I thought they would at least investigate. Nope. The woman who took my call didn’t even ask for the restaurant’s details. She just said “Well, sir, if you prefer not to use that establishment again, that is within your rights.” Thanks a bunch. I’ll be sure to help you again in the future.

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