Am I being scammed?

Awol

LE
Dear kindly folks,

(I couldn’t find a more appropriate forum for this, so I’m dropping it into the Naafi. Mods please feel free to move it if there is somewhere better etc etc).

The other day I was picking through my (Yahoo) email inbox just to check that there was nothing there that I’d missed, when lo and behold, I came across two email receipts from the Trainline.com dated 7th March this year. As I haven’t used a train for about two years, I knew something was a bit iffy. The amounts though were tiny, about four quid each from Bristol Temple Meads to Oldfield Park (and back again).

I decided that If someone has skimmed my debit card and might just be testing the water so to speak, before taking my financial portfolio of a massive £66, the easiest thing was to report it as fraud to HSBC and maybe get a new card.

I called the proper number and the call operator sounded very much like she was in the centre of an open air cattle market somewhere (which knowing about HSBC staff cuts recently, may have actually been the case).

Eventually I asked her to speak very slowly, which she kindly did and I explained the situation. I went through the usual security questions and then she said that my telephone banking account had been locked for security reasons. I patiently explained that I had never used telephone banking in the entire three years that I had been with HSBC. In essence then, because of security issues, I was unable to report my security issues.

I then made a very rapid decision to move banks that very same day and to go to the TSB. I made a very lengthy phone call to them and they were due to ring me back on Wednesday for a 90 minute (huh?) phone call for me to give them my HSBC account number and sort code, so they can ‘seamlessly’ transfer my direct debits etc.

Except of course they didn’t call.

Then, this morning, I checked my emails again and now I found a couple of email receipts from Wetherspoons for, again, about four quid each, for chocolate fudge cake, this time in Bath. Both Bristol (Trainline tickets) and Bath being very local to me.

I wouldn’t mind, but I didn’t even get the chocolate fudge cake.


The million dollar question now is….. are these real emails from the real companies concerned (which seems likely given their proximity to me, but which also means that my account is being dipped into), or is it just a scammer who is generating fake emails to get me to click on something nefarious that is within the email? (I have to admit that I had already clicked on the Trainline tickets to see the details of the journey).

I don’t know, but I’m hoping there is someone out there in Arrseland who can advise accordingly.
 
If you're suspicious of emails never click the link, go to the trainline website directly and see if the journeys were made

Someone could be doing something like putting something that looks like the trainline online, to get people's trainline logins

And then free travel for a bit...
 
And have you looked at the relevant bank account your self via the app or online banking and does that show the purchases - Immediate Action I would have thought

Archie
 

Dread

LE
Ignore all emails from "your bank" and other shops claiming you've spent money with them, unless you're expecting the email. The email should be correctly addressed to you and contain such things as the last 4 numbers of your account or credit card that you used.

Also check for spelling mistakes: sure sign of a scam.

Pop along to your branch and deal with them in person (or use an ATM to get a statement).

NEVER trust an email, and never use the details or links in an email to contact your bank (or anyone else): phone the number on the back of your credit card(s) or go through their main website (www.hsbc.com and www.hsbc.co.uk). No matter what the 'link' in an email says (e.g. hsbc.com), it means nothing, and the real hyper-link underneath/'inside' can take you to a fraudster's website that can look just like the real website.
 
It's normally gift cards that get purchased but as my esteemed colleague above said, ignore all and any email's from "banks" or anything to do with finance. Never click on the links, even if they look legit.

If you have to go to a banking website then go directly to the website, not via a link in an email or anywhere else. It's too easy from someone to spoof it.

Banks (real ones) understand this by now and won't email you about anything important.
 
Just another scam.
The only stuff I take note of from Virgin Money ( used to be the Clydesdale...an Oz-owned mob) is what appears in my online bank account.
I have to say, the Falcon anti fraud squad there are very good. A few times over a few years they have called, gone through a certain DPA process with secret info, and enquired if we had spent in a shop hundreds of miles away...eg SWBO was apparently shopping in Newcastle as they spoke.
Except..we were not!
We really tightened up after that and the only card we use online is a "fed" each month to facilitate Amazon etc.
I've actually reverted to cash as a rule. I take a certain amount out every Pension day, shove it in an office cash box, and stuff some in my wallet. I don't take cards out the house any more.
If I need cash help if I was out and about and had...say a puncture..... I'd just call my lad. We have that agreement and he's got a small 4 figure sum of mine stashed in an account.

Don't respond to emails that even look like they are from your bank.
Even shifting a dot to the right or left makes the sender look real...but it is not.
As for calls...we know how to deal with them.
There's a lot of HMRC scams and demands for furlough refunds on the go.
It's good business if you are a thieving Kah-Hunt. Numbers game for them.....
 

Awol

LE
If you are on line banking I'm certain you can lock your account. Then go to your local branch if possible.


When I joined HSBC I immediately went and sat down and signed up for online banking. Because I’m a sensible chap I followed their advice and didn’t jot down on paper any of the passwords I created.

Their password requirements were vastly in excess of any of those required by any of the other financial institutions I have used in the past (and I’ve used all the High Street banks over the past thirty years for both business and personal accounts).

I’m aware that online security has to be more thorough today than it was even five years ago, but this was excessive. My brother is with the TSB and it requires a single password and a security question to log-in. Simple and effective.

HSBC required three passwords and setting it all up took me over an hour. By the end of that hour I had forgotten all the passwords. Each one had to be something like eight characters long and using both upper and lowercase, and abbreviation mark and numbers.

So I’ve been unable (and unwilling) to use HSBC online banking ever since. I get a paper statement once a month which I check for the dealings of the ungodly, but mine isn’t due for another week, and a lot of damage can be done in a month. I can’t visit a physical branch because they’ve all been closed down. I can’t join another bank with its own physical branch because they’ve all been closed down too.

I’m fully aware of scam emails and they are normally obvious but there’s something about these receipts that makes me uneasy. I’ve just been looking at Starling Bank which was recommended to me, and I might sign up there if I can.

It’s a pity, my dad has been with HSBC/Midlands since he was 18 in 1954. You couldn’t ask for a finer customer…. loyal for nearly 70 years, scrupulously financially responsible etc but they’ve also started treating him like crap. All those years, mortgages, pensions etc stand for absolutely nothing, so what chance does a new customer stand?

One thing is for sure,whatever happens, I’m leaving HSBC.
 
Last edited:

Awol

LE
If you're suspicious of emails never click the link, go to the trainline website directly and see if the journeys were made

Someone could be doing something like putting something that looks like the trainline online, to get people's trainline logins

And then free travel for a bit...
I don’t think that Trainline would allow just anyone (ie me) to access past journey records. I’m also reluctant to dig deeper into the email to check for more information.

But thanks anyway.
 
When I joined HSBC I immediately went and sat down and signed up for online banking. Because I’m a sensible chap I followed their advice and didn’t jot down on paper any of the passwords I created.

Their password requirements were vastly in excess of any of those required by any of the other financial institutions I have used in the past (and I’ve used all the High Street banks over the past thirty years for both business and personal accounts).

I’m aware that online security has to be more thorough today than it was even five years ago, but this was excessive. My brother is with the TSB and it requires a single password and a security question to log-in. Simple and effective.

HSBC required three passwords and setting it all up took me over an hour. By the end of that hour I had forgotten all the passwords. Each one had to be something like eight characters long and using both upper and lowercase, and abbreviation mark and numbers.

So I’ve been unable (and unwilling) to use HSBC online banking ever since. I get a paper invoice once a month which I check for the dealings of the ungodly, but mine isn’t due for another week, and a lot of damage can be done in a month. I can’t visit a physical branch because they’ve all been closed down. I can’t join another bank with its own physical branch because they’ve all been closed down too.

I’m fully aware of scam emails and they normally obvious but there’s something about these receipts that makes me uneasy. I’ve just been looking at Starling Bank which was recommended to me, and I might sign up there if I can.

It’s a pity, my dad has been with HSBC/Midlands since he was 18 in 1954. You couldn’t ask for a finer customer…. Loyal for nearly 70 years, scrupulously financially responsible etc but they’ve also started treating him like crap. All those years, mortgages, pensions etc stand for absolutely nothing, so what chance does a new customer stand?

One thing is for sure,whatever happens, I’m leaving HSBC.

Btw, i forgot to add, if those receipts that you are being sent happen to be from your local area (spoons) then it that is curious. Cancel the card, report it lost / stolen or whatever and move on like you have, get a bank with a non-farcical customer care department, preferably in an english speaking part of the world.

Monzo is pretty decent, simple, no fuss and all online, no branches but easy to get hold of when needed. Worth considering but if your a coffin dodger then i suppose the value of being able to walk into a branch is worth its weight in gold.
 

Dread

LE
Any sense of loyalty towards customers (to those who show loyalty to the bank) left the system +20 years ago. Retail banks are ruled by automated compliance programs (that would cough in your face and say "computer says 'no' " if they could). Branch managers, once able to override systems and make decisions e.g. provide a GBP 500k overdraft for a local business experiencing a short-term cashflow issue, are now nothing more than poorly-paid office drones with zero decision making authority: they are there to ensure that staff turn up on time and that cash doesn't go diffy.

The only way banks reward customer loyalty is by stiffing the loyal with higher charges and lower rates of interest than those offered to new customers: same as the retail insurance industry.
 
Listening to a bloke at work on the phone to the bank: "If your records show I bought petrol in Basingstoke at half-twelve today, how the **** was I in Sri Lanka at three to buy enough trainers to equip the entire Tamil ****ing Tigers?"
 

Awol

LE
Btw, i forgot to add, if those receipts that you are being sent happen to be from your local area (spoons) then it that is curious. Cancel the card, report it lost / stolen or whatever and move on like you have, get a bank with a non-farcical customer care department, preferably in an english speaking part of the world.

Monzo is pretty decent, simple, no fuss and all online, no branches but easy to get hold of when needed. Worth considering but if your a coffin dodger then i suppose the value of being able to walk into a branch is worth its weight in gold.
Thanks. I can’t report it lost because they have blocked my telephone banking service. Something happened about two months ago when I called them to change my address.

The call handler took me through the security process which I followed with flying colours until she said what payment came out of your account on the 14th of December (two months previously) I didn’t have a clue I didn’t have access to my statements at that time and I think that’s why they locked my telephone banking service.

I think the problem is that they are getting so paranoid about security that the requirements and now untenable.

About 15 years ago I was with Barclays and suddenly saw that my account was £2000 in debit. Somebody had used my card to buy two tickets from Heathrow to Pakistan (Return).

Barclays were fine and they very quickly refunded the money (within 24hrs). When I said that they could surely catch the villains because they would’ve used a passport at Heathrow, they said that they probably wouldn’t bother because it wasn’t worth the manpower involved.

In other words, in those days they covered the losses themselves. I suspect those losses are now extreme and instead of carrying the cost themselves they are clamping down massively on security to the detriment of the customer experience.
 
When I get an iffy looking email purporting to be from a legit organisation, I always try and expand the sender's details to see the actual email address the email has come from. For example, the sender/header might be shown as 'Royal Mail' but expanding the details won't show me 'www.royalmail.com', it'll show something more suspicious like 'adefemi@zzxfpr.scammers.net' etc. Scammers rely on email recipients accepting emails at face value without looking too closely, so always dig a bit deeper and see what shows up. But don't open any links in the email body, obviously.
Oh, and I can thoroughly recommend First Direct as an alternative bank with negotiable levels of security (voice security being the main one), UK-based personnel and - from personal experience - a watchful eye on your account for unusual activity.
 
When I joined HSBC I immediately went and sat down and signed up for online banking. Because I’m a sensible chap I followed their advice and didn’t jot down on paper any of the passwords I created.

Their password requirements were vastly in excess of any of those required by any of the other financial institutions I have used in the past (and I’ve used all the High Street banks over the past thirty years for both business and personal accounts).

I’m aware that online security has to be more thorough today than it was even five years ago, but this was excessive. My brother is with the TSB and it requires a single password and a security question to log-in. Simple and effective.

HSBC required three passwords and setting it all up took me over an hour. By the end of that hour I had forgotten all the passwords. Each one had to be something like eight characters long and using both upper and lowercase, and abbreviation mark and numbers.

So I’ve been unable (and unwilling) to use HSBC online banking ever since. I get a paper invoice once a month which I check for the dealings of the ungodly, but mine isn’t due for another week, and a lot of damage can be done in a month. I can’t visit a physical branch because they’ve all been closed down. I can’t join another bank with its own physical branch because they’ve all been closed down too.

I’m fully aware of scam emails and they normally obvious but there’s something about these receipts that makes me uneasy. I’ve just been looking at Starling Bank which was recommended to me, and I might sign up there if I can.

It’s a pity, my dad has been with HSBC/Midlands since he was 18 in 1954. You couldn’t ask for a finer customer…. Loyal for nearly 70 years, scrupulously financially responsible etc but they’ve also started treating him like crap. All those years, mortgages, pensions etc stand for absolutely nothing, so what chance does a new customer stand?

One thing is for sure,whatever happens, I’m leaving HSBC.
If you don't need a Credit Card I would recommend Starling Bank - they operate via an App and are very very good. I have them as my back-up / for overseas sepending emergencies. They immediately notify you whenever a transaction happens.

Really, really good.
 

Blogg

LE
Some businesses do give you the option of receiving an online invoice for in person transactions but.. do you go around just giving it out to anybody who asks? No, me neither.

If money is actually going out of your account report card as lost/stolen.
 

Old Stab

LE
Book Reviewer
I'm with Nat West.
Online banking is very good. Any purchase made on my card and I get an alert sent to my phone in under a minute.
 
If you don't need a Credit Card I would recommend Starling Bank - they operate via an App and are very very good. I have them as my back-up / for overseas sepending emergencies. They immediately notify you whenever a transaction happens.

Really, really good.
+1
Personal & Business.
 
I use Barclays and for any on-line info, they supplied me with a little card reader and to check my a/c I have to insert the card into the reader, go through a series of checks before I can log into the a/c on line.
I also requested when my new card arrived it was NOT one that could be scanned and I put up with the fact that I have to put the card into a m/c & put in my security code thus eliminating the risk of a person scanning my card unknown to me!
 
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