Our cleaner took a phone message whilst I was shopping from the Fraud department of Credit Agricole.

They wanted to know if we had recently purchased goods from Gucci, Givenchy and Louis Huiton. ( a name we had not heard of) of course we had not.

However our cleaner, who speaks both English and French fluently, took the message that an sms message would shortly be received on our phone itemizing each article to be purchased and if she gave them the code for each item they would be cancelled as a purchase.

In her eagerness to help she gave each code believing then the bank would cancel them. Sad to say they did not. The person speaking to her was not the real fraud department of the bank.

The amount came to around 12000 euros in total. I arrived home wanting to know who was on the phone but our cleaner assured me she had dealt with it and saved us from a fraudulent act. Alas, she had not and our entire savings account was cleaned out that following night.

We had not given them any other details as they already had our card numbers but not our PIN numbers. The pin it seems they did not need, not that we would have given it or any such details. Where they got the numbers and account number from we still do not know. However, because the codes to these purchases were given by our cleaner not realizing the consequences my husband and I lost all our money.

In our eighties we wonder what next will life throw at us. The gendarmerie declare that this fraud is quite common recently and as a fraud the bank should cover us with their insurance fund but the bank say that this fraud is not recognized by their system so refuse to compensate.

What do we do?

All our yearly asurances and tax payments for cars and house go out in February yet we still have to eat. A bank loan at our age is not possible and the interest is also prohibitive for those on a pension. It seems our only hope for compensation against this type of internet fraud is a court of Justice but who pays the lawyer if you have no money?

Beware. My husband and I are totally innocent and would not have continued with such a telephone call but our cleaner, who thought she was looking after our best interest, seemed to have done anything but. I am only glad that we did not have so much in the bank to clean out.

We have since had threatening calls telling us they would kick us in and continue to clean us out and also, a few days later our amazon account was attacked by someone with an Apple Mac Desktop from the Provence des Alps, Côte d’Azur. Was it us? No it was not, so we changed our passwords and hope for no further attacks.

Cyber Crime is definitely on the up it seems. The problem for banks and police is that it has become very sophisticated and difficult to keep abreast with. What is safe these days?

JMP, Céret

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