There are few types of fraud cases that this private investigator has not seen. As Fraud investigators we take many calls from people like the poor couple featured in this article:
Unfortunately, in many cases of fraud such as this, we can only offer advice as to how they might be able to pursue the banks in question for a refund.
In this particular case, we might suggest that the problem could potentially be with the building company concerned. But of course, without knowing all the facts, it would be impossible to say.
We believe the figure of reported ‘Internet’ fraud is currently running at about 5 million cases a year in the UK. It is very clear to us as private investigators, that the police do not have the resources and very probably the expertise, to investigate these matters.
From this private investigator’s experience, it also seems that some banking institutions are not doing enough to deal with this ever growing problem, and would suggest that it is in their best interests to keep this type of fraud undetected.
Could the bank in question have done more? As the police are not investigating this fraud, and the bank does not regard it as a crime against themselves, we will never know. The question is of course, what checks did they carry out in regards their KYC (Know Your Customer)?
One of our own UK private investigators who banks online, noticed that over a few months several Direct Debits were set up on his bank account, taking out fairly small amounts each month. On contacting his bank on the phone, he was informed that it was relatively easy for someone to do this, and the bank refunded the money, no questions asked. They also set up a protocol that no direct debit would be allowed unless they had his direct confirmation. If you use Internet banking, we would advise you to set this up yourself, and always check your bank statement ( no matter how depressing!)
It is very easy to read stories of fraud, and assume that it will never happen to you. The chances are, that as fraudsters become more sophisticated, it could.
At the end of the article there are some suggestions on how to avoid online fraud, which are worth considering. The easiest of course is not to bank online at all.
But if you do, check all bank and credit card statements, and use a sophisticated password
As private investigators we have seen cases of fraud such as this increase over the years, and destroy lives. So our advice? Be cynical. The Internet can be a wonderful place, but always remember, it can also be a very dangerous place.
And…If you need a Private Investigator, you know where we are!