Defrauded by… my own bank?
Last Tuesday (29th May) I decided to open an ISA. While at work at went through the necessary forms online and shortly thereafter received a welcome email telling me that I had to send a cheque from my nominated bank account so that I could complete the signup process and my account becomes active. One problem, I don’t have a cheque book. I haven’t had one, or needed one, for eight years… until now of course.
So of course I get on the phone to my bank, tapping in my details via the keypad until I am put through to a guy. I simply said: “I need a cheque book to complete a sign-up for an ISA, could you send me one out please?”
The chap on the end of the phone seemed sensible enough and asked if the ISA was with them or someone else. “Someone else.” came the reply from me.
“Mind if I ask who?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“Oh right, okay then, well the cheque book is on its way and will take two to three days to arrive. Will you be making any large transactions on your account in the next few days?”
Without batting an eye-lid I said: “Only to complete the opening of this ISA.”
I completed the phone call and went to bed that evening hoping to receive my cheque book by Friday at the latest. What I got on the Wednesday morning at 10am was a phone call from my bank’s Fraud Detection team asking if they could confirm some transactions on my account. I had recently bought some fuel, a motherboard from Amazon and some bolts from a small online retailer but hadn’t used my card for anything else. I knew I could rule out Amazon because my card details were saved from a previous order anyway.
The girl on the end of the phone started listing amounts totaling something in the region of Â£1200! Â£499 at Google Checkout, Â£350 at Google Checkout, Â£350+ at dabs.com, mobile phone topups, itunes.com and some other small amounts. I was a little horrified and immediately began thinking about who could have leaked or obtained my card details. It wasn’t Amazon, I’ve bought from them many times with saved details. I’ve bought fuel hundreds of times from my local Shell and never had a problem. Trouble is, that only left the company that I’d bought bolts from and… the guy at the call centre, who would have access to all my details! I emailed the chap I’d bought bolts from and he offered his apologies but was adamant that in seven years of trading mine was the first time he’d come across a problem. Admittedly I still can’t rule them out but my thoughts over the last few days have been around my bank’s call centre and the guy I spoke to about the cheque book.
The main reason I’m writing this blog entry is because it’s now exactly one week and one day after I called for my cheque book and it still has not arrived. I got the fraud department call on Wednesday morning. My new card arrived the following Tuesday morning…but where’s my cheque book? Well it’s not here that’s for damn sure. The most perplexing issue here is the final question that the call centre assistant asked: “Will you be making any large transactions on your account over the next few days?”
Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking at the time when I answered, if I had been I might have simply asked to be transferred to his supervisor and told them. The fact remains that the call centre assistant has no need to know what activity will be going on with my account, so why ask? He was chatty too, asking me about the bank holiday weekend and what not, perhaps a diversionary tactic?
The big shame here is, without access to the webserver logs from the stores where my card was used I can’t obtain any evidence. Thankfully most, if not all of the transactions were declined but I have seen one appear on my statement for Christian Aid. Probably the test authorisation to see if the details worked.
Yes I’m a little gobsmacked that it happened in the first place, I hadn’t lost my card or used it in an insecure fashion. The website I ordered from was SSL secured and I’d bought from my local petrol station and Amazon many times before so it only leaves one person and that’s the fella I spoke to at the call centre. I can’t go pointing the finger because I don’t have any proof, hence why I’ve withheld the name of the bank I used.
I say used because I’ve moved my account as a result of their tardiness in delivering both the cheque book and replacement card. I was left with Â£30 (Â£20 was borrowed) and that had to last me a week? I was told the card would arrive in two to three days. It took them six days. Someone else can deal with my salary, someone I can perhaps trust to send me a new card in what might be considered a reasonable amount of time. The fact that the cheque book still has not arrived merely lends weight to who the culprit might be.
UPDATE: The cheque book arrived yesterday – a week and a half after I requested it. Not acceptable.