November 18, 2009

£1500 of fraudulent transactions on my poker account

Last Sunday morning (8th November) I found myself subject to a call from the HSBC Fraud Department. This was not particularly unusual as I have had to field many calls from them over the past couple of years as they seem to view any gambling transaction as suspicious, and being a professional poker player it's inevitable there's going to be a fair few of those! This time though I was aware that I hadn't made any deposits recently, but just figured they were wondering if it was really me that kept ordering Dominoes pizza (our oven & microwave decided to pack-up simultaneously recently). I was 20-tabling on Pokerstars at the time, and not paying much attention, until they listed several transactions that I had no idea what they were.

Struggling to concentrate whilst playing, I told him these deposits were definitely> not made by me, and that I would ring back in an hour when I'd had a chance to play out all my tables. It turns out 18 separate transactions were made on my Mastercard totalling £1465 on the Victor Chandler website.

Therein follows frantic phone-calls to Victor Chandler and the bank making sure everything was blocked. I was initially given the idea that the bank were going to sort everything out and that the money wouldn't even leave my account.

Wrong.

The £1465 came off of my credit card and 10 days later I'm still in a bit of no-man's land. I'm waiting for dispute claim forms from the bank so I can claim this money back. Even then it's going to take 6-8 weeks to go through the process. I'm pretty sure any fraudulent transaction should be covered by Mastercard, but I'm not gonna rest easy about it until the transactions are struck from my account, or whatever has to happen.

VC's response has been a little unsettling. The first lady I spoke to, when I was still rather confused about what happened, confirmed unusual activity on my account (which had been dormant since April or May or something), and passed it on to the security team. I was then unable to get anybody to tell me anything, and was told that I would have to go through the Police to get any information.

I duly reported it to my local Police Department, but they said the bank and/or website would deal with it, and they would notify the Police Department where the fraud took place.

This is when I sent Nik Spooner, who runs Tetleyboy Affiliates, an e-mail as he was the guy who signed me up to VC on a nice rakeback deal. This guy is the nuts, and has helped me solve problems that were nothing to do with him in the past, and came through for me again as he got the Security team in touch with me straight away.

They seem to acknowledge that a fraud has been committed, but their language is a little too vague for my liking. They have informed me that the IP address where these transactions took place is in the UK. How this person has got into my account I really don't know, because I couldn't even remember my own details to log-in. I hope something is done to try and track this activity down, but right now I'm not even sure they don't think it's me.

So it looks like I'll be sweating getting this money back over the next few weeks. I just wish someone would guarantee me that I'll be getting refunded so that I can rest easy on this issue.

So here's a warning right now to make sure you keep your poker accounts as secure as possible. I'd recommend not letting any poker site save your card details as that's what has got me in the shitter here. I'm still unsure how they would have known my 3-digit security code on the back of my card, but perhaps they didn't have to enter that, I'm not sure.

All my money (well, all my poker bankroll at least, I still have money for food!) is currently on PokerStars, where I'm happier about it being, as they don't save your card details. I used to complain about having to keep re-entering them every damn time, but I take that all back now. The RSA-token I ordered with FPPs to increase the security on my account arrived today, and this seems like a really good way of ensuring you are the only one who has access to your account.

Share this

9 Comments to "£1500 of fraudulent transactions on my poker account"

Dremeber said...

Wow, heavy stuff. You never think that it will/can happen to you.

Hope everything turns out fine.

Will add your blog to my linked list.

Have faith,
Dremeber

skolsuper said...

Was isildur1 imo. He's pwning everyone at the minute.

Amatay said...

easily done mate. I had £10k nicked from my bank account via online fraud this time last yr. The bank refunded it about 2 wks laters. Hope it all gets sorted soon

reevio said...

You'll be fine with a credit card James.

They are always liable as part of their licencing etc. so even if it takes ages to sort (which i doubt) you won't have to pay the bill and won't get any charges.

Debit cards are a different beast as they're effectively the same as paying with cash....

James Atkin said...

Thanks guys. That's good to hear Amatay (not about the fraud but that you got it back fairly swiftly).

Lol@isildur1

Yorkshire Pud said...

You'll be fine mate, the Mrs had her Paypal account hacked last year and £500 was put onto Betfair and it was all sorted within 7-10 dyas.

Just keep pestering them

Michael said...

James,

good bless you. I hope all turns out well. If not, let me know. I'll see if I can help as Daleroxxu said your a good guy and hes a good friend of mine.

reef2287

James Atkin said...

Thanks for the reassurance guys, I will keep at them til I get it sorted don't worry about that!

Kevin Stevens said...

Any news yet? hope you get your cash back.