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Michael Browne

A 999 call and the credit card [problem] that cost thousands

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How an utterly plausible con-trick left John Andrews £7,000 poorer and feeling a total mug



  • The con began with phone call from woman claiming to be an inspector
  • 'DCI Seymour' told the couple someone was using cards to buy items
  • She said the card had been cloned and was being used to make purchases
  • Con rested on clever technical trick, specialist technology and acting skills

We feel so stupid: how could my wife and I have been conned out of more than £7,000 by one phone conversation? The answer is that the [problem] was brilliant in design and execution.


It began with a phone call after dinner on a Friday night. My wife answered the phone and the caller announced herself as ‘DCI Jane Seymour of the Serious Fraud Office’.


The inspector was polite and matter of fact. She asked my wife if she had been in the Apple Store on Regent Street that day or the one in Covent Garden? My wife replied that she hadn’t.


But DCI Seymour reported that someone had bought expensive items from these stores using my wife’s debit card — and the transactions had been within four minutes of each other.

Anyone who knows central London knows it is almost impossible to get from Regent Street to Covent Garden in such a short time — something was definitely amiss.


The inspector then broke the news that someone had cloned my wife’s card and was using it to make major purchases. Panicked by this information, my wife called me over to the phone and asked me to speak to DCI Seymour.


The inspector explained that the Serious Fraud Office had been monitoring Apple Stores, conscious that the launch of the latest iPhone would make it a target for criminals.

‘Do you have all your cards with you?’ she asked. Yes. ‘Are you sure?’ Yes.


In the background I could hear hubbub that made me think of TV’s The Bill or Prime Suspect: the faint sound of people chatting, the sense that DCI Seymour was at one desk and other detectives were hard at work on the case, too.


Having established that neither my wife nor I had been to the Apple Store, she asked if I had noticed any strange transactions on my cards. No, I replied.


‘But we’re worried,’ said the inspector. ‘We think all your cards have been compromised. It may be that someone has hacked into the National Database. We need to block all the cards now.’


Inwardly, I shivered. Does this mean identity theft? ‘Yes, it could be. You’ll need to take part in a police investigation later. But we need to block your cards first.’


Immediately, I was suspicious. Why would she want all our cards? Was DCI Seymour who she said she was? How could we know she was really working for the Serious Fraud Office?


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249752/A-999-credit-card-[problem]-cost-thousands.html#ixzz2GpwIOqkG

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saw that. weird. incredible how anyone could be so conned. just seems too 'official' ie a call from the police, police wouldn't call like that. banks deal with card blocking and never ask for pin number, suggestion to call 999, also without a dial tone, etc

Edited by Ford




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