I was recently the victim of an attempted fraud in which my card details were used online to send £200 to an American welding specialist.
I have no idea why the fraudsters tried to take such a small amount of money or why out of all the riches on the web they tried to buy iron in another country, but I'm glad they did because Capital one recognised it as suspicious and declined the transaction. I once spoke to an old man who had been a victim and had had 7k stolen, the bank refused to refund him because they said he must have been negligent with his PIN.
I was phoned by Cap1 within twenty minutes of the attempt on my money and they froze my account while they changed my details (although not before asking if I might have typed in my 16 digit card number and clicked "buy US steel" by accident).
I can't work out where the card details were copied, I don't get paper statements and haven't been parted with my card or put it in an ATM.
I am sure that following common sense advice like shredding letters does reduce the chances of getting caught out but it doesn't seem to make you immune so I suggest getting free insurance available with any Cap1 credit card.
I have worked in retail and I think it would be very easy for anyone capable of landing a £5.70/hr job at Tesco's to empty any card they are presented with. They can put though card details with cash back with no need of a PIN or an accurate signature and the only permanent record of who did it is a paper EFT authorisations page which is rarely completed even during legitimate transactions. If they have the physical card they could do it even more easily on self scan assuming they have no fear of CCTV (which lots of people don't, where I worked they fired an average of 5 people a month for thieving from the till whilst on about 3 different cameras. That's about 1% of the store fired every 30 days and those are just the ones who got caught).
I remember serving a woman who angrily refused to let me use her cards mag stripe believing this would put her at risk. The reality is there was far more opportunity for me, the supervisor or any anonymous security guard watching the CCTV to copy down the numbers while she argued about it.
All in all I am amazed card fraud is as rare as it is; chip and pin makes absolutely no difference as long as they keep printing the numbers on the plastic.
As we become more comfortable with purchasing items over the internet and carrying out banking and the manaGement of utilities and bills via the web hence it is no surprise that there has been a huge increase in both bank and credit card fraud in the UK.
Many people are unaware of how easy it can be for a fraudster to find out personal banking details, anyone who does not shred their mail but merely disposes of it in their household waste or recycling bins runs the risk of someone obtaining financial details and using that information to steal the victims identity or duplicate their cards and use them to purchase goods.
Two of my friends have had their credit cards copied and these were used in Asia and the Middle East to purchase good running into the thousands and in both ases it took months before everything was sorted out. In both instances it is believed by the police that the cards were copied while they were purchasing petrol. Often either the petrol station worker is employed by the gang or co-erced by them to be involved in the theft and it is known that as the majority of workers in petrol stations in my area are from third world countries or Eastern Europe sometimes it is their families back home who are threatend by these international gangs.
The introduction of chip and pin was supposed to reduce the threat of fraud but as always the fraudsters have just become more sophisticated or moved on to hyjacking information from home basd wireless systems that are not protected.
There are a few sensible precautions you can take, use a diamond edged shredder to dispose of all paperwork with personal information on it, ensure that all your computer security systemns are up to date, always shield your pin number when inputting it, never let your card out of your sight especially in restaurants, only use secure sites to purchase items and never use the links in e-mals to access your banking site instead set up links in your favourites. I hope this advice has been helpful.
In the last two weeks every surviving member of my family has experienced some sort of phone/internet/fraud attempt, some successful. I was the luckiest of the clan as I twigged it early enough to realize it wasnt Kosher. This fraud is so rampant that the banks and the bigger tertiary businesses have asked the police to hand over all official complaints to them and they will deal with it...write it off etc. The police are happy as it counts as cleared up crime for their statistics and so extra pats on the back from the Home Secretary (who keeps his job for that little bit longer, especially as a lot of this crime is by foreign nationals) and the banks chipper (excuse the pun) because it makes them look safe if the public mind if they dont find out how rampant this fraud is. The Northern Rock was an extreme example of what will happen if they do find out unsafe their cash is now. ONE IN THREE of you reading this will (or soon will) have suffered credit or internet fraud and another 10% will suffer it before New Years Eve, in this, the busiest time of the retail year.
My attack was a straightforward phone phish. Somehow the criminals had got hold of the fact I am a certain bank account holder and more disturbingly, my home phone number, an account I NEVER use to buy anything so have never given out my details. And so began the intrusions attempt over the weekend. Either the phone dialer equipment is very capricious and rings every household in Britain to get some mug to fall for it or the bank in question-who recently moved their call-centre to India-of they have internal fraudsters selling list of customers names with phone numbers. Or then again it could just be the dodgy postie in the Northampton depot. The more info they have the less the phone-dialer has to ring up to get very high hit ratios of account holders. At least one in twenty of those people, especially the elderly and gullible, will fall for it and get cleaned out. The statistics reflect that.
The thing is these phone scams are quite plausible at first. My flat mate told me my bank had rung up twice for security reasons...Im thinking it must be urgent then. Rather cleverly, and somewhat ironically, you immediately think your account has been robbed by the very thing threat we talking about here and the bank are going to break the bad news. So the phone rings and I answer it. Its an automated dialer that asks you to press this button and that, the first voice very professional and plausible. As you have never had a security call before from a bank then this could be what they are like. When the dialer voice starts to ask you to press in personal details you begin to smell something. I then put the phone down and rang my banks security department to see if this thing is real and if I have indeed been cleaned out. They say no, we havent called you sir, its a con. Luckily I was on the ball, my account unaffected and so crisis averted. Im not naming my bank for all the above reasons. But I can easily see someone giving enough details to that dialer to have cash removed from their account. The dialer rang three more times that weekend. I thought it would never stop. But it gave up because Im smarter than it. It wouldnt surprise me if the bot had vectored in how many calls to make before its rumbled. Its quite clever and I can see people falling for it, especially if people like me make them aware of the rampant bank fraud going on. This morning I got my statement and they haves enclosed a leaflet to protect myself from bank fraud. Oh how I chuckled
My brother was second up to be targeted by fraudsters last week. This time they were successful, we suspect his card skimmed at Milton Keynes stations cash points. Luckily they didnt get cash, just a couple of hundred in phone credit and some recoverably charity donations. We believe they did the charity donations to make sure the card was still live and coughing up. If they had got his pin then they would have taken cash. The process of reporting the theft inevitably involves those Indian call centers, not the easiest conversation to have at times of stress. He achieved nothing with India and his bank was clearly trying to shift liability to him and so not pay up, another reason to hate those places, and where a lot of fraud originates from. My brother is sharper than Stephen Frys cufflinks and eventually got hold of someone who could speak English (no offence guys) and cancel his account to prevent further fraud. We both know one of the purposes of chip and pin tech is to move liability away from the banks and on to the customers and retailers. This type of fraud increased an incredible 27% last year. Yes the move cut card and bank fraud here but CNP (Card Not Present) fraud has rocketed overseas, foreign fraudsters pulling your cash out of the wall in countries where chip and pin doesnt exists, the so the magnetic strip on the card the weakest link once again so to empty your account.
The third instance was with my older sister on EBay, all manner of frauds operating there these days. Some say the website would close down if Ebay actually kicked off the con merchants, leaving so few traders. I have to confess Im not quite sure how she was done over but involved someone over bidding on a mobile phone she was selling. She then got a fake e-mail from someone pretending to be the buyer of the phone saying the sale is cancelled. She had already sent the phone to what looked like a legit trader with a good trust rating. No phone, no money. Im sure you guys have had similar issues with all the above this year.
How much goes missing
£15 billion pounds a year is written off by the banks and the like through the above fraud. Most of the stolen money is replaced in your accounts after an investigation period. Some who claim fraud could indeed be taking the money out of their accounts themselves, as with over claimed insurance claims, the previous biggest fraud cost back in the 80s.
But while you wait or are unaware of the fraud your direct debits and cheques are bouncing and you are incurring bank charges and angry creditors. I dread the day they get me.
Who is doing it...
Well it really is an international spread on who is doing this damaging and traumatic crime, Nigeria ground zero of these so called phishing scams. A recent joint Interpol/FBI raid netted £400 million pounds of cheques alone over the six month period heading to and from Lagos. Many of these cheques were sent by gullible Brits hoping to get some of exiled Prince Kwengo Abubos (for example) stashed non existing millions-but many more are fake cheques designed to look real and so the recipitant in the U.K expecting to be able to cash them, handing over real cheque because they believe the money is coming the other way. They look very real if you see them and you can understand people falling for it.
Theres a website set up by an English guy whos mission in life is to track down these guys and humiliate them on them net for all to see, pretending to do the deals. He exchanges e-mails and gets them to do silly things to prove they are who they say they are, they hoping to get a big reward if they play along. I have seen two Nigerian guys doing the Dead Parrot Sketch and its hilarious. Its not about the promised 15 million quid to these guys but the admin cheques Brits send over in their thousands. Some say if they are that stupid and greedy they should be ripped off. But let me tell you that many of these people who are targeted are elderly, some senile, crooks even targeting old folks homes.
Ethnic minorities in the U.K, foreign or not, are eight times more likely to commit fraud, half of all Londons fraud and misappropriation now done by that 25% of its non British born population. All this is documented on the governments own website. Its clearly a revenge crime in that youre getting back at a society you dont feel part of and so feel somehow justified in doing it. Londons huge ethnic gang culture is the home of credit card and immigration fraud, Asians surprisingly virulent in these fraud cases. The recent expose of Sri-Lankan run frauds from British petrol stations highlighted it succinctly.
Romanians top the stats for credit card and cash-point fraud in the U.K, accounting for an impressive 85% of the later. One of the reasons the government has blocked mass immigration from Romanian and Bulgaria this week is to strop gang wars raging on London and our inner city streets to get control of these lucrative crimes. The other old communist block countries battle for the bronze medals with Turkey pushing hard in forth to get on the rostrum for the card crime medal ceremony.
The madness that is New Labors immigration policy will probably be the reason why you suffer I.D or credit card fraud in this decade. The amount of gang crime being committed here is phenomenal.
Your money is not safe in your bank account and wide open to fraud. The banks are petrified if it gets out on just how much is being siphoned off and if the rates of theft keep increasing they cant meet the losses. To stop the flow going out they are trying to make the account holder-retail or public-more liable for the theft. This is happening all over the country.
The growing internet retail sector means its really easy to take money from someones account as the shops want your transaction first and then worry bout any fraud later. The banks are desperate to get you onto web banking sites, which, although safe when logged in, everyone leaves a thumb print on the web of all key depressions and so you can be hacked. I would like to hear someones opinion on this who works for a bank or online business.
If I were you guys and you have just the one bank account paying your direct debits I would open another high street account to cover any emergency. If your account gets emptied you wont be bale to pay your bills for up to four weeks minimum. The charges that would generate are unthinkable hassle. The banks are in no hurry to refund your money but in a sprint to make you cover the loss if you cant prove it wasnt you. Trust me, when you have to deal with a mumbling Indian called Harry Palmer (yep, thats what my last one was called!) that has no intention of being able to put you at ease you will wish you have switched your balance.