Adventures with Identity Theft – At the Bank!

Click here for part 1.

So, in the first part of this cautionary tale, I had found out that someone had applied for a loan in my name and had it deposited in my bank account. I was on holiday, right at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend.

I’d been in touch with HSBC, who told me that they could tell me nothing – I had to go to a branch in person with some identification as soon as possible.

We start off the day with me having very little sleep, and waiting for it to be time for the local bank to open. Since it was the ‘go home’ day of the holiday, I was able to keep busy with packing up things. When the time arrived, the Bloke kindly drive me to the local town so I could sort out things at the bank.

Since we got there at the opening time, I was able to be immediately seen. I had to go through all my security questions (as expected), show my ID (my driving license is always with me), and then discuss what had happened.

The day before (the day I had noticed the £10,000), someone had phoned the bank, and attempted to move the £10,000 away somewhere. The bank wouldn’t tell me where though.

Now at this point, the main thing going through my head is – either this person did their homework to feel confident enough to get into my telephone banking, or, more worryingly – it was someone close to me. When I consider that the only people who have ever been given my actual bank details are close family, companies with whom I am setting up a direct debit, or employers, I still feel incredibly uneasy about this.

It’s also important to note that I am a rather paranoid person – I don’t think security questions in their ‘honest’ form are secure at all. Some information is easily found about a person, after all. And if it’s someone who knows you … well. As a result, all of my life, I have always used fake answers to my security questions. Think in answer to ‘What is your favourite colour’, and instead of ‘Yellow’, the answer is ‘Banana’.

It was this paranoia that stopped the impersonator getting that £10,000. They failed on the security questions part. They had all the other information correct. The HSBC security protocols did their job, and they shut down phone access to my account – hence why I had to turn up in person. In my head, I was singing HSBC’s praises!

While I was in the branch, I got the security on my account updated – things like updating all the answers to my security questions just in case, setting up my voice as my password, and correcting all out of date information for their records. I was also reassured that HSBC would get the £10,000 sent back to Hitachi using their internal processes. Fabulous!

I was in the branch for over an hour. With this all accomplished, I was ready to go home (hopefully before 5pm, in the hope that some places would still be manning their phones on a Saturday). I was very eager to shut down as much of the fraud as possible, and get everything resolved.

As luck would have it though, I only got home in time to make a phone call to Experian after checking through my updated credit report from there.

There were a number of ‘soft’ credit searches (which don’t impact credit score), and a hard one for Hitachi Capital Finance. The nice gentleman at Experian was surprised I had already been in touch with Hitachi, and also recommended I sign up for CIFAS – https://www.cifas.org.uk/. He let me know that he would start the leg work to get the bad stuff removed from my credit file. In addition, he let me know that I can set up a password on my credit file itself. Awesome!

All that was left to do at this point was to get in touch with the Police to report the problem. I was advised that I should do this online through https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/. So, I reported the whole thing, and then sat back to wait. By this point, it was after 5pm on a Saturday, and all the other things I had left to do wouldn’t be possible until Tuesday, as everywhere would be closed for the next 2 days for the bank holiday weekend.

I was feeling slightly better at this point, as I felt that things were beginning to get tidied up. I let work know that I wouldn’t be able to come in on the Tuesday, as I knew I’d be spending a lot of time on the phone trying to resolve things.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. The next part of this story was particularly rage inducing for me. In fact, it still is. But we’ll get to that in the next post.

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