About £1300 was cleared from a bank account last week. The victim was distraught, this was her living money for rent, food, transport while she was staying in Russia. She used one of three ATM’s within reach of her digs. She was left with about 20 roubles; not much.
The British Consul said it was a police matter; that he could not provide an interpreter to help the victim through the reporting and interviewing however, he could offer a list of private interpreters. How could she pay for one with no money?
A Russian member of British Consulate staff offered to phone a police officer about the matter. Armed with a name and the whereabouts of this officer, the girl waited for this man at the police station. When the interview got underway, questioning turned on the possibilities of the landlord and landlady obtaining the card, pin, etc. As they are elderly, don’t trust banks, have not got bank accounts themselves and did not know what an ATM is, let alone what it does, this was a most unlikely scenario.
After five and a half hours in the police station, the girl obtained a certificate to prove the crime had been reported, but on the way out was told the crime also had to be reported, personally, by her, to the police station in the vicinity of the ATM. No, apparently it was not possible to send reports through in any shape or form.
This week, the police called the girl and said she had stated she had removed the money herself! There were witnesses to her testimony,(another complicated adjunct to this story)that she had not said this and of course, the accusation was vehemently denied.
Can you believe that the Russians haven’t heard of financial fraud, of clever electronic devices that can enable it?