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We’ll be showcasing your stories and offering some help and tips on how you can address them – whatever the issue.
This can be anything from being overcharged on your mobile phone bill to having your savings hacked or your bank account frozen.
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Have you got an issue for Money Troubles to investigate? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Money Troubles’ in the subject line.
“Fraudsters opened two O2 accounts in my name – and now I’m being forced to pay the bill”
Mirror reader Rob Prowse got in touch this week over a dispute he’s had with O2 for more than a month.
The reader said it all started in December when he received a series of letters from the telecoms giant “welcoming him” to his two new accounts – a move Rob knew nothing about.
In December last year, I had two new O2 accounts taken out in my name and at my home address – neither of them were made by me.
From what I have since discovered via O2, the fraudster did this at a Carphone Warehouse store, and collected brand new iPads and iPhones at the time. They used fake bank details for a direct debit using a Monzo account, and then walked out of the store with the goods.
I became aware of it when letters started arriving from O2 advising me of my new accounts. I immediately called O2 and alerted them to the fraudulent activity. I asked for the contracts to be shut down and for the credit applications to be removed from my credit file. Six weeks later, still nothing has been done. The accounts remain open and Experian is still showing the credit applications, plus a debt so far of £920+ to O2.
I have called O2 on a number of occasions, however have been bounced around various departments . They say they have been “busy” over the Christmas and New Year period. It is now nearly February.
I am currently looking at buying a property and I am worried that this could affect my available mortgage products/rates and therefore cost me money. What should I do?
Mirror Money’s response:
It’s no surprise that you’re worried about how this will affect you. Not only has it caused you huge financial stress, but it could also cost you a top mortgage deal as markers can stay on your credit file for up to six years.
After speaking with both Carphone Warehouse and O2, I have come to learn that this was a case of identity fraud.
It’s likely that your details were harvested long before the fraudster went into the store – which would explain why they were able to pass all security checks.
This, however, does not explain how they were able to take out two new contracts using a completely fabricated Monzo account.
Nevertheless, the retailer has apologised for the mix up which took place in one of its stores.
A spokeswoman told me: “Our colleagues are trained regularly in how to spot signs of identity fraud at the point of sale and we have systems in place to capture and report instances where we see them.
“In this case, the identity theft occurred before any interaction with our store and the person was therefore able to share all the details that retailers generally look for before completing a transaction.
“We’re nevertheless sorry for the experience that Mr Prowse received at the hands of these criminals and we will be contacting him to advise on how to protect his personal information in the future.”
O2 have now also agreed to close both accounts and wipe the £920 debt on your credit file.
As the contracts were not opened via O2, it said it had no cause for concern, and therefore by default wrote to you when you failed to meet your payments.
The telecoms giant said its customer service failed to deliver at its usual standard – and has now agreed to wipe the outstanding £920 charge and close the two fraudulently-purchased accounts.
Payments have now been stopped and your credit file reversed – with any red flags removed.
The retailer has also offered to pay you £75 as a gesture of goodwill to cover any credit check charges and the inconvenience caused – whether you choose to accept this is at your discretion.
A spokeswoman told me: “O2 takes fraud and the security of its customers very seriously. We are sorry the service Mr Prowse received fell below our expected standards in this instance, and have spoken to him and offered £75 to be credited to his account, which was declined.
“The fraudulent £900 debt amount has been removed, his credit file has been amended and all correspondence to his address has been stopped.”
Money Troubles aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions.
All information in this post was correct at date of publication.