Friday, January 09, 2009

Cloned Wars

Not in a galaxy far away unfortunately but in Indonesia where someone used my stolen bank card details to try and withdraw over 1 million whatever-the-currency-is-there from an ATM. When I heard this my heart nearly leapt out of my mouth in horror but it turns out that with the exchange rate that would be a less terrifying £80-something.

Ah, so that is why I couldn't use my card to pay bills online. That is why I spent the next day puzzling with the bank call centre staff who couldn't see there being any problem as I had the funds. That is why, on a bright, sunny and freezing Wednesday morning I got the letter that told me the fraud department of the bank wanted to speak to me urgently.

Oh hell.

Don't worry, they said, it wasn't personal - this concerned thousands of people who used their card at the Lizzie Bryce petrol station in Livingston. One of the attendants was part of a criminal gang, someone who I would have smiled at and thanked as I always do because I think they have a thankless task dealing with grumpy people all day. So this guy I thanked and was pleasant to, tried to rip me off. Regardless of how many people this touched (over 10,000 so far in my bank alone) it still left an icky feeling inside.

I had done everything right. The card was never even touched by him, he had some special thing inserted into the chip and pin device so no one would have realised what was going on. There are trust issues of course, but as I rarely use that place, and never will now, I feel...annoyed. I know I will take care over who serves me in future and that is a shame but even though it was a few days of problems I really don't want to experience that feeling again.

It does sometimes feel as though these criminal gangs can work without the stress of ever being caught. Oh certainly, this chump from the petrol station has been charged but he is just the mug who did the crime. How many people were behind him? What about the people who they sold all those details to for a more-than-likely hefty price?

And they see everyone in the West as a target, oh if only they knew.

1 comment:

Pewari Naan said...

Mine was done over Christmas too, although the guy at the fraud office was less than helpful and just beligerantly asked me over and over again if I remembered a $1 purchase over the internet (I didn't - so that was fraud and my card got stopped)

Never did work out how they got my card details but was a right pain being cardless - it's not until you can't use one that you realise how much you rely on it.