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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 16:27 GMT
The misery of suffering card fraud
Computer keyboard
The internet is increasingly a vehicle for fraud
As fraudsters turn to the internet to perpetrate so-called cardholder-not-present scams, two victims speak of the ordeal of falling victim.

Angela Brydon has twice been the victim of cardholder-not-present fraud, where crooks obtain services or get goods sent to different addresses, using either telephone or internet mail order.

In February, her credit card was used to make a number of fraudulent transactions in Brazil.

"The credit card company picked it up and thought it was unusual and immediately put a stop on the card," Mrs Brydon said.

The card company quickly cleared the matter up to their own satisfaction, and the customer was not out of pocket.

My mortgage payment had been returned unpaid which incurred a charge, although I did eventually manage to get it back
Angela Brydon

But a week later, Mrs Brydon, from Flitwick in Bedfordshire, was stung again but on her other card.

"I was out shopping with my debit card and had it refused. I went and checked the balance at the ATM and found I didn't have any money left."

But unlike the simple process by which the credit card company sorted everything out, her bank was a different matter.

"They wanted me to fill out all the paperwork and investigate before they refunded the money.

"The credit card company assumed it was fraudulent. The bank was very different. And it was a much bigger transaction, about 1,000 [to buy computer hardware and other goods online].

"I did have savings. It was a case of quickly moving money across. But my mortgage payment had been returned unpaid which incurred a charge, although I did eventually manage to get it back."

Victim's advice

It took Mrs Brydon a month of living off her savings, filling in paperwork and answering questions before her ordeal was over.

"I did a bit of digging around, contacted websites I had used and they checked out their systems, but could not find how it might have happened."

But the unfortunate victim does have some advice for those wanting to avoid fraud.

Do not let your card be taken out of your sight, such as if using it in a restaurant, be careful on the internet and make sure you have got the little padlock sign on screen [to show the server is secure].

But most of all, make sure all your money is not in an account which can fall prey to fraud.

I had visions of them sending round the Sweeney - instead I was told it would take several months to investigate
Alan Tompkins

Mrs Brydon added: "We were fortunate we had some savings as we were saving up for our wedding. A few months earlier and I wouldn't have had anything to fall back on."

Alan Tompkins, an IT worker from Chelmsford, had 3,500 stolen from his account.

The money was taken using his debit card and transferred to the fraudster's account at another British bank.

"The really frustrating thing was that no-one could trace where the money was going.

"I only have a 500 overdraft and this took me to nearly 3,000 overdrawn. The bank haven't explained why they let this get through."

Mobile phones

The victim first noticed the fraud when he spotted transactions for a mobile phone firm to which he did not subscribe.

"They say they will try it by topping up a mobile phone first and if that works they will hit the bank for ever increasing amounts until the bank reject it."

Mr Tompkins said his money was refunded after seven days, but only after he had complained about the total lack of urgency on the part of bank branch staff.

He is also scathing of the police who failed to act despite having an address that goods were fraudulently sent to.

"I had visions of them sending round the Sweeney - instead I was told it would take several months to investigate."

He says the only explanation for how he came to be defrauded is that he had thrown away a receipt with his credit card number on, in conjunction with junk mail with his name on it.

"It is just so scary. But it is interesting in a way to find out just how easy it is to commit fraud."

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