When You Suddenly Find Out You Have No Money Left

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Bank debit card declined at the supermarket earlier today. Apparently ‘not sufficient funds’. We know money was getting tight during the renovation but this was not expected and certainly not good news.

Most people who have been, or are going through, a renovation project will likely agree, money often becomes constrained. Feeling embarrassed and somewhat panicked, a short apology to the checkout lady was quickly followed by opening the Barclays iPhone app to see what on earth had happened.

We were not prepared for what it showed. Account overdrawn.

Bank Account Fraud

Bank Account Fraud

If you click on the image above you will see a screenshot of the current account. From a fairly modest credit balance of £571.69 last night, the account was now overdrawn by £149.63. According to the statement, we had been buying something costing either 79p and something else costing £1.49. And not just once or twice. No, we couldn’t get enough of it. These 79p and £1.49 items had been purchased hundreds of times in the last 24 hours. Yes hundreds!

In total over £700 had been spent during the previous day on multiple purchases from an organisation named Google *Line Corp. And the story gets worse. When we called Barclays to report the issue, the adviser told us that actually there were very many more similar purchases currently waiting to be charged to the account but held in a ‘pending’ queue. They had not yet hit the account yet because the account had become overdrawn, so now Barclays had stopped paying until we put some more money in the account!

A quick Google search (the irony!) revealed that apparently these little charges relate to purchases made on Google’s Android App store. The amounts tallied with typical phone app prices. But, we own iPhones and have never bought any Android based apps. You would think with all the online security which is in place nowadays a computer somewhere would have picked up something peculiar about someone buying an app every minute and continuing to do so for hours and hours, literally! When was the last time someone has genuinely spent £1.49 and £0.79 repeatedly for hours on end, even after their account has become overdrawn? I would guess never. Perhaps Barclays were too busy watching their share price continue to drop post Brexit.

A slight side step from the renovations, but nevertheless highly relevant as money, cashflows and budgeting are of course key concerns during this renovation project. The last thing we need a few days before our builder asks for another staged payment is a rapidly dwindling bank account as someone builds an app empire while our little house renovation comes to a halt!

Currently waiting for Barclays to confirm that my account is restored to normality …

Update: It took 5 days of waiting and several attempts with customer services on the phone, but eventually we got our account back to normal with all fraudulent charges refunded!

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