Anne (ajva) wrote,

Distraction fraud

Have you heard of it? Distraction fraud? It happened to me tonight.

I had been for a few beers with my workmates, meeting up with our old colleague Imo, and everything was cool. We all left the pub at the sensible time of 9pm to go home, and I called in on the HSBC at Tottenham Court Road to pull out £20 to replenish my purse. Just after I'd punched in my number (which I usually shield, but I guess I can't have this time), the guy at the ATM on my left said hello to me and handed me a fiver. As you would expect, my reaction was "What? Why did he give me that?" But, of course, by the time I turned my head back round, my card, which had been emerging from the slot, had gone. Immediately I realised what had happened, and checked both ways. And, of course, they'd gone.

There was an old bloke on the bench behind me who caught my eye as I looked around and he pointed. I walked over to him.

"It was them over there."

"Those oriental blokes in front of the tree?"


I walked over to them. I said hello and they engaged in conversation. I told them that I knew they'd taken my card (I realised my only possible chance of getting it back was bonding with them and trying to sweet-talk them), and I at least had the satisfaction of knowing that I'd done my best, but it did no good (the bloke on the bench later told me that there were actually 4 of them, so given that I had caught them high-fiving each other, I think it was because they'd just passed my card on). They showed me the contents of their wallets to prove they were innocent, which of course proved to me they were guilty. But where's the actual proof? None. I had to leave.

Police told, card cancelled. But I had been balancing my account carefully this month which means that the hundred pounds that was taken tonight (which the nice Barclays woman told me about) will put me into unauthorised overdraft if I can't get Barclays to sort it out tomorrow morning.

There was a very nice BTP bloke who helped me out though it wasn't strictly speaking his job. Tomorrow I shall buy him a Thank You card. I know his number ends in "66" - I think it's "5366", but we'll see.

Bugger. I hadn't heard of that particular version of the distraction fraud, though. So my plan is: not only shield the number; as soon as you've done that, put your hand over the slot. They won't be able to steal your card then...
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