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British Element Trieste Force 1945 - 1954
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The Fraud Squad.

This may turn out to be a trifle long so if you want to scroll on, be my guest.
Yesterday I deposited quite a large sum of money in my bank account as the result of an inheritance. Made one or two investments then decided to go on line in the afternoon and book holidays for myself and my son. Started off with booking a flight to Venice so we could visit Trieste in July. Booked an overnight stay in Mestre in a hotel, then booked another hotel for 7 days situated in the Piazza Goldoni. Then booked a return flight from Venice with another airline. Decided we deserved more than 7 days for a holiday so decided to make a trip to Mallorca to a place we know very well from past visits. Booked a flight with Ryanair to Palma de Mallorca, then reserved another 6 days in a hotel right on the beach at Paguera in Mallorca. This for the beginning of September. I was paying and reserving all this using my Visa Debit Card from Natwest. I then searched for a cheap return flight from Palma and found cheapest. Went to pay once again with the Debit card only to find it had been blocked. Tried two or three times but each time found the card had been blocked. Went to bed disappointed. This morning decided to visit my bank to find out what the hell had happened. I was told that the Natwest Fraud Squad had decided that someone was using my card fraudulently because one of the charges for a hotel for 7 days for myself and my son plus airfares had come to £790. Now, I've paid a darn sight more than that in the past, using my debit card and never had any problems. Anyway, my usual branch of the Natwest in Cheadle, for some obscure reason, closes on a Thursday, so had to go to Stockport to investigate. Very helpful assistance but they had to make a phone call to the Fraud Squad. We found then that the Fraud Squad had placed on hold all payments to the various airlines and hotels until I was in the bank with one of their counsellors. I had to assure them that it was really me myself, Mr so and so Southgate, who had made these bookings via e-mail on my laptop and verify that I really and truly wished to go on holiday to these exotic locations with my son. They then unblocked my debit card and approved the payments I had requested. Strange thing though was that the last request I made for a booking was with airline from Palma de Mallorca to Manchester at 2330 hours on Wednesday night. Which was when they blocked my debit card. Apparently, they are not used to someone booking one airline flight out to a location and booking another airline flight back from that location. I do that because it's a damn sight cheaper. And one airline is like another. I used Easyjet, and Ryanair plus to book the flights out and in. But who expects ones transactions with a debit card to be checked at midnight or thereafter by something called the Fraud Squad of your bank. You have now all been warned. I suppose we should(??) be happy that our banks keep such a watchful eye on everything we do, but whatever happened to 'privacy'? The Fraud Squad had actually phoned me and left a message on my answerphone at 0730 hours for me to phone them but I never thought of checking my answerphone in the morning when I was just getting used to having to face another day. And who expects to have a message on their answerphone at that time in the morning? Now these bookings I made were: for the trip to Venice and Trieste that's at the end of June beginning of July and for the Mallorca trip that's not until the first week in September. I would think that if someone is going to nick your debit card and spend some money on it they would do that as soon as possible after having nicked it not in two months and four months time, wouldn't you? Two words spring to my mind : 'mind-boggling'. Anyway folks, mind how you go. And they say we must now get used to a "cashless" society? And that's why I told my bank this morning that I will never, ever, take out an on-line account.

Re: The Fraud Squad.

I sympathise with you Larry; it's a bit of a facer when your card is refused; it feels as if someone is doubting your integrity. It happened to me in Scotland. I'm well aware that we're asked to notify banks or card issuers if we're going overseas but Scotland! I ask you!

We go each year to a very remote corner of the Highlands and eat each evening at the local pub. All went well and seamlessly for two or three evening then suddenly my credit card was refused. Luckily my bank debit card was OK so we didn't starve.

I suppose it's all part of the price we have to pay to enjoy the benefits of such things as credits cards etc. There is no squad of suspicious guys watching our every move. Banks etc have to protect themselves because we can reclaim money if we're defrauded so they install systems which guard against fraud and they don't always behave wisely. I never got to the bottom of why my Scottish transactions were deemed suspicious. I took out another which pays me a bonus percentage each time I use it.

Although I like the benefits of cash machines and cards etc and appreciate that I don't have to trek to a building in town to get cash over the counter. There are limits; I don't have an app on my phone and I have a separate account with a small balance for on-line transactions so that if it were to be "hacked" I couldn't lose more than the small balance.