I bank with a division of a bank that has had some bad press this week for allegedly limiting withdrawals. Personally I subscribe to the principle that if a bank needs several billion dollars to meet some administrative requirement then it wont make that by stopping Mrs Smith withdrawing £800 for a new sofa! This morning I stopped at the cashpoint and my card was rejected, the message was clear “your card issuer has declined this transaction” the same happened when I tried to obtain a balance.
On the walk home to call the bank my mood went from mildly annoyed to near apoplectic, how dare they restrict my access to my own funds! When I called them I got put in a queue which is unusual and elicited lots of “I bet you’re bloody busy” type grumbles from yours truly. Whilst on hold I tried to log in to my internet banking but that kicked me out, this only served to fuel the rage and then the call was answered. After recalling my late mother’s shoe size, the circumference of an average egg and the colour of the underpants that I wore in April 2007 I was through security and ready to raise hell!
Bank: “How can I help you sir?”
Me: “Well you can explain why my card was rejected for a start”
Bank: “Oh OK I will look into that sir, quite often this is nothing to do with us though?”
Me: “I can assure you that the message told me that this was your doing”
Bank: “Oh yes I can see that there has been a fraud alert raised on the account, could you confirm some transactions please?”
Me: “Of course”
Bank: “You tried to withdraw £x at the cashpoint this morning”
Me: “Yes I tried but you bloody stopped me!”
The bank reeled off a number of transactions and I confirmed them all with curt annoyance and then they hit me
Bank: “On Friday you spent £2700 on strawberries”
Me: “Did you say strawberries? like the fruit? No”
Bank: “and £2700 this morning on toys in Hong Kong, before flying home to use the cash point”
Me: “I think that you have confirmed either a fraud or that I can travel at the speed of light”
Apparently an old card number has been obtained by fraudsters so the ‘transactions’ were all declined and I didn’t actually spend £27000 on strawberries and assorted toys. Having calmed down I thanked my bank for their vigilance and they told me that they will dispatch a new card and in the meantime I can use my credit card as a debit card with no charges. I have to say that they made it all as painless as possible despite being faced with an angry customer. In the meantime I have been wracking my brain as to when the fraud could have occurred, I remember losing my card and having to have it replaced which seems like the obvious time.
The trouble is that after replacing the card I found the original under my bed, could that be where the fraud was committed? Perhaps it wasn’t a drunken fall into bed that resulted in the loss of the card, was it something more sinister? Was there a little Russian* under my bed just waiting for the opportunity to snatch my card? What else had he been up to whilst awaiting his window of opportunity? That wasn’t a hang over that I woke up with, it all made sense now the Russian had drugged me! Those nonsensical SMS messages that I sent, that wasn’t drunken typing that was Dimitri messing with my phone trying to work out my passwords. Suddenly it all made sense, this wasn’t a case of a red in the bed oh no this was worse there was a red under the bed!
Of course I’ve checked under the bed and in the closet now and there is no sign of the pesky red. He was clever though, not a trace of him was left so I warn you all to check under your beds, Dimitri won’t have gone home so he may already be lying in wait for you……
*Other nationalities are also involved in card fraud