11 March 2012

Good morning to you all after what has been a pretty decent week in beautiful, downtown Byfield. Very decent and acceptable weather in the middle of the week; the sun has shone, the temperatures have been very tolerable, the daffodils are ready to burst into bloom, the birdsong is rampant, the insects are beginning to emerge from their winter slumbers and the wood pigeons in the trees outside our bedroom window are “at it” constantly. Clearly Spring is just around the corner.

Credit CardsWe’ve been the victim of credit card fraud this week which was somewhat disconcerting. We had a phone call on Tuesday morning by someone claiming to be from Lloyds TSB with whom we have our main credit card. Always somewhat dubious when cold-called I must confess to being somewhat short and frosty with her when she asked if I had authorised any balance transfer transactions in the past few days. “No!” I barked down the line, for which she thanked me and rang off.

Later that evening we had another phone call from another person claiming to represent Lloyds enquiring again if I had authorised any balance transfers. Again, I snarled a negative reply whereupon she began to ask me some security questions. Still not convinced that this was a genuine call I informed her that I was not prepared to divulge sensitive information over the telephone to a complete stranger. Hey! I’m no fool – I know all about these phishing expeditions. So, she suggested I ring the number on the back of my credit card and let them know that I had been contacted by the Lloyds TSB fraud department which I did.

Imagine my surprise to discover (a) that this was quite legitimate and (b) someone had gained access to our credit card number and had made several balance transfer transactions over the previous week or so. It seems that they tried to transfer just over £1000 on two occasions which were denied. Then, they clearly discovered that if the request was for less than £1000 it would go through. So, they then set about transferring £990 three times, £984 once and £978 once.

Fortunately, Lloyds recognised that this was somewhat unusual expenditure on our credit card and hence they contacted us to enquire. As a consequence, the cards have been stopped and the bogus withdrawals restored. So, apart from a bit of a fright, we’re none the worse for wear but certainly intrigued as to how our credit card number was compromised and how the fraud works. I guess the idea is that one transfers the money into a bogus account and then grabs the cash before the banks can catch up with you?

Fortunately, neither the PIN nor any of our other sensitive and/or secret information was apparently compromised. So, the moral of the story – even those of us who think they understand these things are potential victims – keep your details private and safe and always wear a condom when shopping!

BanjoWe discovered via Facebook the other day that Ben, much to the “delight” of everyone within earshot apparently, has purchased and is learning to play a banjo. This caused considerable amusement in our household as Ms Playchute purchased a banjo for me some years ago which I have singularly failed to master – Ben picking it up might be just the incentive I need to get going with it again.

However, we then ran across the following article in the Daily Mail describing the case of a man who was arrested and charged with gross indecency following an incident on a railway train. A woman claimed that he was “fiddling” with himself; the defendant claimed he was merely (a) adjusting his underwear and (b) practicing some banjo fingering routines on his lap as he sat in the train. You can read about the case here but one has to be impressed by the judge’s wisdom and knowledge:

“. . . the judge in his trial had informed the jury that men do sometimes innocently ‘fiddle with themselves in public.’”

I had an e-mail from one of the firms which provide parking facilities at the airport promising me a savings of at least 20% off its normal prices if I book before the end of the month. So, in anticipation of our forthcoming visit to Hanover I filled in the dates and asked for a quotation. I was particularly impressed with the following two options and the savings proposed:

Parking Discount

Oreo CookieAnd finally, did you know that the Oreo cookie is 100 years old? Nope, neither did I.

Love to you all,

Greg

 

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