Hey Guys, this is a different kind of post from me today. A post I hope will prevent someone else being a victim of fraud. Being a victim is how I felt. It comes from a real experience that I sadly encountered, it’s taken a long time (about 3 months ish) to finally put fingers to keyboard and write this post. I have written down a bit of structure to the post, however I might end up waffling! All thoughts, views and feelings throughout this post are my own. My main reason of writing this post about being a victim of fraud is to merely spread awareness of the different scams out there. Also to share my first hand experience as a woman in my 20’s.
- Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
- A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.
Fraud is a bit of a cliché word and taboo subject in todays society. We hear about fraud stories on the news, in newspapers or magazines and I am sure I’m not alone in saying I never expected to be a victim of fraud. I would always say comments like:
“It would never happen to me”
“They target the older generation as they are unaware and it panics them to make rash decisions with the thought of them losing all their savings”
How naïve I was about Fraud and the extend the fraudster will go to achieve their mission. Like I said in my intro it’s taken me a bit of time to reevaluate the situation I was faced with however I knew that I wanted to put into words what I experienced first hand.
It was a sunny day in August, Wednesday the 12th to be precise. I had spent a lovely 4 days away with my best friend in Warwickshire staying in a beautiful Shephards Hut on a farm. 4 days of catching up, enjoying yummy foods, swimming in the rivers, partaking in watersports and generally enjoying spending time together. Drove home on the Wednesday morning as planned, arrived home about mid day. I was in my own little ‘happy’ bubble having had an amazing time over the last few days.
Received a phone call on my mobile, however at the time I was chatting to my neighbour so ignored it. The same number called another 2 times, 3 calls in total that I missed. I googled the number as I was a bit concerned who would ring 3 times in a short space of time (approx 10 minutes). Googled the number, it stated it was Lloyds Bank (my bank provider). So I remember saying to myself that if the number called again I’d answer it. By this point I had gone for a little walk as the sun was shining.
The number called again, I answered the call to a male voice ‘Hello is this Miss…. I am calling from …. Bank, regarding a couple of transactions which have been made but have been flagged by our system’. He then went on to say that 3 payments had been made from my account all within the Milton Keynes area. I’ve only ever been to Milton Keynes once about 4 years ago. As the conversation went on I explained it couldn’t of been me who made the payments as I had never been there. At this point I was 15 minutes into the call, the male ensured me that he would sort it all out for me but then started asking me more personal question ‘I just need the first line of your address’ ‘could you give me the total amount you see on your online banking’. Having never been through Fraud before I assumed he just needed this information… how wrong I was!
I was the victim of one of the most common fraud activities – he said he had opened up a new secure account and I needed to transfer a sum of money to protect it. Like I said further up in this post I had spent the last few days away and I panicked that all my money could disappeared. I questioned him on a couple of occasions even saying to him ‘How do I know this is legit?’ with his response being ‘Because if you look on the back of your bank card I am calling from that number’. He was indeed correct…. at that alarm bell I should of hung up. Stupidly without thinking I transferred a sum of money to that ‘New’ account and that was it. Within an hour he got what he wanted, mainly due to my own stupidity and being caught off guard and secondly because he was so believable that I did question a couple of things but what he replied with made sense!
After he had hung up I remember shaking and checking my online banking every couple of minutes… until it kicked in that the money was gone and there was no new account. I then called the fraud team at my Bank and went through everything that happened. At this point my emotions were all over the place, blaming myself for my naivety and being stupid. She reassured me it happens all the time, they are very clever at what they do. Trust me, that doesn’t make you feel any better!
How it made me feel
Spending the next few weeks beating myself up, not wanting to talk to any one apart from my parents basically I was embarrassed that I had been a victim of fraud. I cut out everyone in my life for those few weeks, I couldn’t deal with my emotions and the male voice going through my head on a daily, sometimes hourly basis wound me up even more. Work was a distraction at the time but nothing could take away my personal feelings, living on my own I was worried that someone would turn up at my property after all I did give out some very personal information to a fraudster! He left me shaking, angry, not wanting to leave the house and mostly importantly feeling like a victim.
These people who carry out fraud have zero remorse for their actions, they work to make other peoples lives a misery and quite frankly I’d love to one day play them at their own game… maybe that’s my anger coming out again. Trust me it leaves you feeling very vulnerable, maybe think twice about what I post online/talk to people about. However, I’ve slowly began to realise that if my post helps someone else not be a victim of fraud and have to endorse what I experienced that would make me very happy. The more people we tell the less these evil fraudster will get out of people like myself.
Types of Fraud
I thought I’d outline a couple of types of fraudulent activities going on at the moment:
- HMRC – a very common type of fraud which I am sure has been going around for years and years. They pretend to be from HMRC whether through a telephone call, an email (with a false link) or a text message. They will say something along the lines of ‘We notice you have paid your tax bill’ and then threaten with legal action if you don’t pay.
- Fraudulent Transactions – the fraud I experienced where they pretend they are calling from your bank (frauding the banks number) saying that your account has mysterious pending payments were these made by you.
- Internet Provider – they will call up saying they are from your internet provider (they probably won’t specify which one as they don’t know) and that they will cut your internet off if you don’t give them your details.
- General text message from +4477 numbers which entail links and thats how they get your bank details etc.
As you can see from the few I’ve mentioned they are cunning with what they do, they know exactly how to answer your questions and therefore are very convincing. My final advice would be if someone calls you and you are doubting what they are saying… hang up and call the provider they claim they are calling from, from the number you find on the company website. Never put them on hold whilst you check!
Sorry if this is a bit of a long-winded post. I wanted to speak about my experience and emotions. But importantly to try to help you guys not fall into the trap like I did. Two things I have taken from this:
Never trust anyone who rings you up
You never realise how strong you are until being strong is your only option
Luckily my bank have reimbursed me and 2 weeks later received half my money back, but I know some banks aren’t as willing to do this for fraud victims. If anyone has any questions about fraud or my experience feel free to drop me a message.
P.S If you have been a victim please report it to Action Fraud
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