Wednesday, 20 April 2011
A Close Shave
This is Restormel Castle, where Viv, Titch, Molls and I went for a wonderful walk on Sunday.
On Monday I got back around 6pm to find an answerphone message asking me to call the automated department of the Santander Fraud Prevention Scheme.
It’s a scam, I thought. Surely if it was real, they wouldn’t ask me to ring an automated service? But I rang one of my brothers, who’s into this sort of thing. He said, “Shall I ring it for you and find out?”
So he did and reported back that they weren’t asking for any bank account details. So I rang. Pressed the 1 of this and 2 for that to answer security questions. And then I was asked if I’d made a payment of nearly £2,000 to a stranger. Press 1 if you have, Press 2 if you haven’t and need to talk to an advisor.
I pressed 2 quicker than you can bet, and talked to someone who said they would freeze my online banking and make sure the money was back in my account within 48 hours. Could I run a virus scan on my computer and ring them back?
I did that, but talked to Niki, my brilliant computer man who snorted. “No point in running a scan on your computer,” he said (with a Russian accent). “You ‘ave no virus on your computer.” There was an intake of breath as he inhaled his ciggie. “These people are stupid,” he continued. “Nowadays they get caught straight away. Ees waste of time.”
Somewhat mollified, if not confused, I did run the scan, rang back the bank and held on. And on. Until an automated message said they would ring me back when an advisor was free. I went to bed.
Next morning, repeat of last paragraph, without going to bed. I put the phone down and at 10am got a phone call from the bank. No one had made notes on my account so the bloke didn’t know what had happened the day before. I told him about the virus scan, about bank account being blocked, and having rung but no one getting back to me.
“Oh, you need to ring another number,” he replied.
At this point, not having slept too well, I exploded. “My husband has died, I have already rung three times and I am not ringing any other numbers. YOU sort it out,” I cried.
There was an infinestimal pause and he said, “Of course, Mrs Jackson. Absolutely.”
At this point, for some reason, I burst into tears. Relief I think. “So I don’t need to do anything?”
“No, of course not. We’ll sort this out Mrs Jackson, and I do apologise.”
I don’t think he probably knew what he was apologising for by this time, but that didn’t matter – the problem was being sorted. And thank god Niki was right and the bank were alerted to this amount of money whistling out of my account in time. And, more to the point, will replace it.
So while that was a near miss, I’m very fortunate. Even better, my dear brother in law came round last night with a boot full of wood he’d chopped up for me. We spent half an hour unloading it and stacking it and then retired to the kitchen for a glass of wine or two.
You know me – give me wood and wine and I’m happy.