Fraudsters steal £10,000 from disabled man

PUBLISHED: 07:27 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:49 15 June 2010

FRAUD VICTIM: John Kirtley

FRAUD VICTIM: John Kirtley

A DISABLED man has been victim of fraud on three different occasions, involving thousands of pounds.

A DISABLED man has been victim of fraud on three different occasions, involving thousands of pounds.Seaton man John Kirtley, who suffers from the progressive lung condition emphysema, which leaves him struggling for breath, has had around £10,000 transferred out of his account in total.And two transactions, of £6,500 and £2,500, were taken on the same day - while he was in hospital.Mr Kirtley, 64, said: "I feel absolutely annoyed. I am ill. It was a real shock to come home from hospital and see a statement showing withdrawals for £9,000."I went black as thunder for a few minutes - it almost took my breath away completely."But, aside from the money, what concerns me most is the idea that my identity has been taken. The implication is huge; they could open up a bank account in my name, commit a bank robbery, get a passport - anything."Despite taking a number of precautions, ranging from shredding all addressed bank statements, paying for agencies to monitor his credit rating and having his computer protected by spyware, Mr Kirtley believes it is because of his profile that he has been targeted."I'm fairly high profile," he said. "But I'm not a member of Facebook or other enterprises, and I don't give out my date of birth."I've been advised by the banks that it only needs one rotten apple in the organisation for it to happen. I can't do anymore than I have already. Yet it still happens and the banks just shrug their shoulders."After the transfer of £9,000, Mr Kirtley's bank, Barclays, sent a letter to him advising him that the transactions had been refunded - but addressed the letter to another person.To add insult to injury, he said the bank suggested he pay a further £60 a year for a higher level of security.In total, more than £10,000 was taken, including £800 spent at a Tesco store using his card details."I thought what a cheek! Fraud is happening all over the county now and I think it has got out of hand," he said.Mr Kirtley's experience of credit card fraud was not limited to Barclays, and it is a national problem costing banks millions.A Barclays spokesperson said: "It is a bank-wide issue and banks spend millions of pounds each year trying to stay ahead of the game."In any genuine case of fraud, there is a one hundred per cent guarantee in getting the money back. Customers won't be out of pocket."Despite being surprised that Mr Kirtley had been the victim of fraud so many times, they did not feel individuals were usually targeted. But those who use the internet can be at risk of 'phishing' - an e-mail fraud method to gather personal and financial information.Although credit card fraud remains rife, staying vigilant, checking statements regularly and disposing of receipts carefully can limit a person's chances of being hit.

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