Home Money Raiders stole £3,900 and used my Revolut account to buy cryptocurrency: CRANE ON THE CASE

Raiders stole £3,900 and used my Revolut account to buy cryptocurrency: CRANE ON THE CASE

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Bad night out: the evening ended in disaster for our reader when his phone was stolen

In December, I was mugged and had my phone stolen while I was out at night.

Around £3,900 was transferred from my savings account to my Revolut account, where I believe it was used to purchase cryptocurrency. Some money was also transferred from another account, which was not mine, and which was also used to purchase cryptocurrency.

I reported all of this to the police and Revolut, but they refused to refund me, saying I “authorized” the transactions.

Bad night out: the evening ended in disaster for our reader when his phone was stolen

It’s impossible to talk to anyone on Revolut over the phone and I rarely deal with the same person when having a “live” conversation via the in-app chat feature.

The senior staff member I have emailed three times has not responded.

The money they took was all my savings. I just moved out of my parents’ house and into my own house and without it I’m starting to have financial problems. JG, London

Helen Crane from This is Money responds: I’m sorry to hear that thieves have taken your savings, and at such a crucial time in your life.

Stealing phones in busy public places is an increasingly common activity for criminals, but unlike in the past, it is no longer the device itself that they are after.

Instead, they will watch over the person’s shoulder until they see them enter their password, known as “shoulder surfing.” Armed with that, they can pick up the phone and enter any app accessed with the same code.

A banking app is the biggest prize, but they can also cause a lot of financial damage to other apps where card data is stored, for example by collecting large bills on Amazon or Uber.

Having previously reported on money theft through stolen phones, I urge anyone who logs into their banking apps with the same set of digits they use to access their phone to change one of them without delay.

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In his case, the thieves were able to use his account to buy cryptocurrency, as well as make some purchases at Argos, which he was reimbursed for separately.

You contacted Revolut and tried to explain that it wasn’t you who bought the crypto, you explained to them that your phone had been stolen and you gave them the crime number.

But the person he spoke to in his online chat said he was unlikely to get a refund because the transactions had been “authorized.”

Typically, this refers to entering a code that has been sent to your phone in a text message, something that thieves would have been able to easily do.

You told me that you thought the transactions should have been flagged as suspicious and blocked since you had not purchased cryptocurrency before and they were made between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

This is what happened when thieves tried to spend more money on their credit card at a major bank, but not at Revolut.

I agree that this should have raised some eyebrows and I think it is also unacceptable that it is so difficult for Revolut customers to speak to the company on the phone.

It’s not unique to app-based banks, and unfortunately, some major banks are also making it harder to communicate with a real human being, with the first port of call being an automated online chat.

In situations like this, where time is of the essence, customers don’t want to be playing with an app trying to get through AI bots to a real person while thieves continue to drain their money.

Objective: Armed with access to JG's phone and password, the thief was able to access his Revolut app and spend thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Objective: Armed with access to JG’s phone and password, the thief was able to access his Revolut app and spend thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.

I contacted Revolut to ask if they would reconsider refunding the £3,900.

I am pleased to inform you that he has now acknowledged that you were a victim of theft and has agreed to reimburse you, as well as offering you a goodwill payment of £150.

A spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry to hear about JG’s case, or any case where our clients are targeted by ruthless and highly sophisticated criminals.”

‘We have seen an increase in criminal networks attempting to steal devices from unsuspecting people and continue to take steps to identify and prevent unauthorized access.

‘As with all emerging threats, we urge our customers to use caution, remain alert for “shoulder browsers” and encourage users to regularly update their passwords and not use the same password or access code on multiple Applications.

“Upon further investigation of JG’s case, we have issued a full refund for the stolen funds, as well as a goodwill payment in recognition of the hardship experienced in this case.”

You told me that you have since decided to close your Revolut account.

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How to block thieves from your phone… including a useful new security trick for iPhone users

Given the rise in phone theft scams, I decided to speak to scam expert Jake Moore, Global Cybersecurity Advisor at ESET.

He said he had noticed an increase in phone thefts over the past year, often at crowded sporting events or music festivals.

Once the phones are in their hands, Moore said thieves tend to target online banks such as Revolut, Monzo or Starling because, in his opinion, there are “fewer barriers to moving money” and they sometimes “lack the same security.” offered by commercial banks”. ‘.

Often, as in this case, they transfer money from a major bank account to an app-based bank.

But many of us, especially younger ones, like using these banks because of their easy-to-use apps and features like the ability to spend for free abroad. So how can they avoid falling victim to phone theft scams?

Moore suggests keeping only apps that are absolutely vital on your phone and avoiding having digital versions of your credit cards if you can help it.

Otherwise, he adds: “If you’re ever in a crowded place and need to enter your password, keep your phone close to you and cover the screen so it’s not visible.”

Even if you use Face ID or Touch ID, Moore notes that once they have your password, criminals can change Face ID to their own image.

Moore also suggested that iPhone users consider opting for a new feature called stolen device protectionthat Apple presented in March.

Among other things, this means that when the phone is in an unknown location (not at the owner’s home or work), its credit cards can only be accessed using Face ID or Touch ID, and the user will not be able to enter a password as a “back” option.

A one-hour delay is also imposed on certain actions, such as changing the phone’s password, to give you time to report it as stolen.

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