So a couple of weeks ago I was at my shop pottering with my fabric as I do! And I got a call from the bank to say that someone was trying to put through a £3000 transaction.
I laughed as someone thinks I have £3000 in my account for starters but then started to panic as somehow someone has my account details and is trying to take my money. As I sat and listened to this very professional gentleman talking to me I wracked my brain trying to remember all the adverts on the tv/radio saying do not give out any information and don't be fooled if they say they misheard you etc.
He asked me a lot of questions all strictly professional, put me hold (which had your typical crappy music on) and even gave me a reference number in case we got off.
So after a few security questions, making sure I hadn't lost my card and hadn't given my account details out to anyone. He asked me to put a number into my mobile pintry (a device used to help with identifying who you are etc, nearly all banks have them now) and repeat the number it gave back to him.
I had a fleeting thought that maybe this was wrong but then doubted myself as I have never seen this in any advert or on any literature. So I carried on and he started reeling off my accounts of whom I had paid in the past.
I was so worried someone was trying to use my details to buy something that I couldn't think of anything else. £3000! If they couldn't stop it then I was in big trouble....as a small business that would have been a detrimental hit.
The guy then told me that he had sent a message to another one of my banks to ensure they haven't infiltrated all of my accounts. I received a call pretty much straight after to with the same protocol and that was it. They said they would contact me later in the day....which they did to ask if everything was ok and I'm all ok to log back on to my accounts and carry on as normal.
A bit later on I received a message from my bank to say someone had put a £2000 transaction and to ring fraud team if this wasn't me.
As you can probably imagine I was completely shocked. How could this have happened...I was so careful not to give out anything that it turns out all they needed was this particular number from my pintry. They had managed to gain access to all my other personal information and this would have been the icing on the cake for them.
Within a few hours they were able to open an overdraft and empty my bank accounts. I was devastated...I couldn't believe this had actually happened to me.
After being on the phone to the banks for the rest of the day (and been made to feel like a complete fool!) I had all my accounts frozen pending an investigation.
Thankfully there is a happy ending to this story. I managed to get all my money back (big feewww!!) and the only thing I'm left with is a mark on my credit score and my confidence in complete tatters.
This has had such a huge affect on me, I can't believe someone so brazen just rang up and stole money from my accounts like I was nothing. This is money that keeps my business open and pays the bills. I'm not some fancy millionaire who can just right things off like a bad joke. This would have ruined me and the people on the other end of that phone wouldn't have known or even cared.
It absolutely kills me when I hear of these stories now I have been subjected to it. I can't imagine the pain people go through when they don't get their money back (as in some cases they don't as I found out whilst meeting with my account manager). It was so easily done, when I explained to the bank manager what had happened even he said they sounded convincing!
It was a very hard lesson to go through and did have an effect on business. As my accounts were frozen, money wasn't coming in to my account therefore I was late paying my rent. My direct debits were late going out so I have incurred interest on them. But at least this was nothing to what I would have had to pay if I hadn't of been able to get my money back so I will always be thankful they managed to put a stop to it before it cleared.
So lesson learnt...go with your gut, even if it is just a fleeting moment of uncertainty. Double check it. Don't leave anything to chance. It can be you...it was me!