It was a morning like any other. I sat a cup of tea in hand, my cat on lap, considering the daunting prospect to check my emails. Out of curiosity, I decided to check my bank account online to see if a payment that I expected was made. This is where the fun began …
Not only the transfer in question had still not arrived, but I had before me the black on white proof that my credit card had been used without my knowledge and without my consent … and a reason why the bank had not seen and had not warned me.
Beyond basic advice
Entering panic and after much swearing, I dropped my cup of tea, left my job on hold and grabbed my phone. From the moment I uttered the word “fraud,” my interlocutor transferred me to a competent team, not making me wait a few seconds; small consolation of having escaped the appalling music tracks supposed to calm the nerves, but have all backfired.
Before I have time to go further than give my bank details and address security issues, the counselor charged me the same standard legal advice that, ironically, I myself had formulated in practical guides on online security: do not make purchases on suspicious sites, protect your PC against malware, do not make the stupid mistake to publish photos of your bank cards and online course beware as the plague of phishing e-mails.
Once this list is completed, the abandoned its mechanical tone, giving way to a more compassionate human ear. One question remained unanswered: why was it chance, rather than a fraud alert, which had brought me hitherto?
Who took my money?
Nowadays, there are countless ways for someone to grab your hard earned savings or to wipe your credit rating. Malware and keystroke loggers designed to steal your identity references, map copiers that collect information from your card at the point of sale terminal with a dignified yet trusted retailer or the old (but still valiant ) vending card cloner are just some of the tools used in scams today.
I listened to the stories of my relatives, friends and colleagues who have gone through this nightmarish experience. Some know the authors (ex-wives or husbands spiteful, kleptomaniac friends addicted to online shopping …), while others simply do not know how this happened or who punctured their money.
In my case, I have my own idea about the method, even if there are still points to make clear at this stage. I have some “connections” who would love to cause me such trouble, but I do not think any of them have the knowledge or skills to do this. Therefore, when my credit card data has suddenly been used without my consent and my money began to leave the safety of my bank account, I could not blame that on the ATM the gas station gasoline that I used a few weeks ago. However, to tell the truth, I do not know.
Identity theft and suspicious transaction
The other options, which may be equally valid, do not deserve attention, at least while I will not have another proof that the theft of money, which would leave open the possibility of a good perspective more damaging: identity theft.
I always had the impression that everything was under control. I subscribe to a credit monitoring service that keeps an eye on my credit index and warned me to any changes. This is indeed one of the first signs that someone admires your identity so he decided to endorse for the needs of an application for loan or credit card.
On top of that, my bank, Lloyds, has a dedicated team that monitors fraud accounts to detect the slightest suspicious transactions that might suggest fraud (as I learned the hard way on a dark night at 2 am when I wanted to set a hotel room in New York).
Unconsciousness to ignore small amounts
I’m renovating my house and so there is more business than usual, much to tinkering such as sponges or paper glue. Lost in the middle of all these transactions, there was one, carried out with a telecommunications service with which I have no connection. However, the amount was so insignificant that I just thought, “I’m imagining The name probably comes from another company and I just forgot what I bought..” I ignored the sign, but the devil is in the details.
This payment “allowed” became the first of many that began to flood my account. Some books by one, there … every time sufficiently low amounts so that everybody does not notice them immediately, but which, added together, can cause many troubles. The counselor who reviewed my account found strange, as I do, that the transactions had been authorized were from all telecommunications operators with whom I have nothing to see, EE and Three.
In reviewing my account in more detail, it appeared that this was not the only strangeness. In the space of a few days, a large number of “test transactions” were made on the account. These “tests” do not appear on your statement. They simply allow companies to ensure that your account is fully stocked before validating transactions of a higher amount. In general, we do not see or do not even know of their existence, but banks, they, have all the information.
According to the adviser, over 40 of them were recorded, which was already unusual in itself, and unless the card is blocked and destroyed immediately, my account might very well be assailed with new demands money that would eventually put to dry. In other words, it was fraud before the storm.
Like many other banks, Lloyds relies on automated systems to detect fraud. If the bank declined to go into details about my case or detect fraud in general, it acknowledged “take fraud prevention seriously” and “invest heavily in detection systems to ensure that robust controls are in place to protect its customers. ” So why did she not been intercepted this fraud?
According to me, although I have little evidence, it was simply too early in the process to anyone except the client detects anything. Preliminary amounts of 10 to 20 Pounds prove match of telephone refills that can be resolved through cloned cards. They also appear in the limit of the amount of contactless payments that do not require a PIN.
Internet manufactured card transaction
I talked to one of the telecommunications companies in the Three case. After deliberation internally, it is concluded that an individual currently in Glasgow enjoys a phone recharged with my pay, probably via the contactless payment made using a card, or a web transaction . Certainly a perfect test bed to see if an account can withstand without problem fraudulent payments higher amount.
That is the lesson I learned: low transactions may announce more serious problems. Why the bank did not identify the problem before me is that the fraud had not reached a level that trigger the algorithms and other detectors. By cons, as regards testing of payments, I do not know why the problems were not detected. Perhaps there he no dorsal monitoring system for these particular processes or perhaps is it the volume of my recent transactions at home that prevented Lloyds sniffing a trail …
In my case, there is not only an unknown number of transactions that were undeniably about to squander my account, but also some that have already reached the stage “in progress” and that must be addressed before I can be paid. So even though I noticed the problem early, having a canceled card and money that goes in and out has still caused a lot of problems.
No, you do not get ideas!
This experience has taught me at least a lesson: if you detect would be this one little abnormal transaction on your account, contact your bank. Even if you think you get ideas or it’s just an oversight on your part, a simple phone call can save you of fraud would result runaway accounts emptied, not made loan payments and debits denied … much stress and anxiety in perspective.
We can no longer ignore the slightest sign that something is wrong, as I have learned. All it took was a quick check to prevent the situation from turning into a disaster.