Fraud – what a hassle!

I’ve always been pretty blasé about fraudsters raiding my accounts. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been careless with my passwords or pin and I’ve full anti-virus computer protection.

Yet I’ve never been worried by the threat as, firstly, it’d never happened to me before and, secondly, I know I’ll always get my money back.

But my attitude has now completely changed having been a recent victim.

Yes, I’ve been reimbursed but, boy, what a hassle, and a worry, the whole process is and I’ve still some more clearing up to do. Phonecall-after-phonecall-after-phonecall-after-email. Some of us have lives, you know?

Here’s the story:

My 2007/08 cash Isa was virtually emptied a couple of weeks ago and the money transferred to an unknown Abbey account. Luckily, I was checking my Isa account the day after it happened and noticed my balance had been significantly reduced.

Phonecall no. 1 (feeling panicked as I’d been saving to buy a flat with my girlfriend and a significant chunk of cash had gone)

I immediately called my provider to explain. Sadly, its response was poor, lacking any urgency, and telling me it’d take a few days to investigate. “We’ll call you back tonight,” I was told, yet the call-back never came.

I went back into my online account and noticed a new payee had been set up with an Abbey sort code and that’s where the money was heading. So…

Phonecall no. 2

… I called Abbey and asked them to suspend that account. The one bit of useful info I’d got from my bank was that the transfer would take up to three days so I knew the money was in transit and I explained that to Abbey.

The Abbey staff were fantastic and told me that they’d monitor the destination account and said they’d talk to my bank. Yet they added they were surprised my Isa provider didn’t automatically reimburse me and conduct behind-the-scenes investigations.

With that in mind, I…

Phonecall no. 3 (panic had turned to anger at this stage)

… rang my bank to ask them to do just that and got another bored telephone operative who’d clearly much rather be at home watching TV than talk to me. He gave the same tired response as earlier. Urrgghhh!

Phonecall no. 4

I eventually got a call from my bank (no doubt instigated by Abbey) the day after and was told the money would be reimbursed.

Great, all over then? Or so I thought. The money was returned a few days later but it was registered as a 2009/10 Isa subscription, yet I’ve already saved the maximum cash amount allowed elsewhere, which would technically make me a tax-dodger as I’d be over my cash Isa limit due to the bank’s error.

Two weeks on and one more call (Phonecall no. 5) and three emails later, this tax-year issue has not been resolved and I’m still waiting to close this frustrating chapter.

Moral of the story?  Don’t take fraud lightly. Firstly, keep your account details safe (obviously) but also ensure your computer is virus-free as fraudsters can tap into your accounts by sending you unwanted and nasty infections via cyberspace. Read our free anti-virus guide for more info.