If you have ever wondered why Internet-related card fraud and Internet fraud generally is so endemic, it is because it is hardly ever investigated. In December 2007, my Neteller account was hacked and a relatively small sum - though not for me - was stolen. The thief tried to steal more but fortunately was unable to gain access to my credit card details. When I reported this to Neteller, the company implied that I was at fault and suggested, in a roundabout fashion, that I would not be reimbursed. This attitude changed as soon as I mentioned the word journalist.
I got my money back, but the company made literally no attempt to trace the perpetrator, nor, as far as I can ascertain, did they even bother to inform the police. In one respect the response of the police was even more remarkable. They refused point blank to investigate, and one fairly senior officer even went so far as to suggest that he saw no evidence of a crime. When a member of the public reports a crime, that is evidence of one, dickhead.
As I said, I got my money back but no investigation was even so much as mooted, even though it would have been a very simple matter for one detective to obtain the snail mail address registered to the thief’s gaming account. At the very least, any individual living at that address would have had some explaining to do.
Below is a scan of my letter to London Metro newspaper which was published in its March 18, 2008 issue. Below that is the unedited text of the same letter, which was sent by E-mail. The original contains one minor typographical error: “the identity of the theft” should of course read “the identity of the thief”.
March 12, 2008
Sir, Re your lead article in today’s paper about credit card fraud; it is hardly surprising this crime is mushrooming because it is hardly ever investigated. When someone hacked my e-gold account the company treated it as a civil dispute and told me I would have to serve a writ on them in Bermuda to obtain the identity of the theft. More recently another on-line account of mine was hacked and money transferred to a gaming account. The company took a month to make a so-called investigation and in the end did not report it to the police, even though such accounts must be registered to a real address. When I contacted the police myself I was told that they would not investigate on my complaint alone. Walk into a supermarket, take a tin of sardines off the counter and walk towards the door. And see how far you get. Shoplifters who steal trivial sums are processed by the courts on a daily basis, while people who steal hundreds or even thousands of pounds in on-line frauds are not even pursued. Yours Sincerely, A Baron
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