A CANCER survivor and mum from Nebraska in the United States of America has been scammed by nearly $8,000 by a person who used her credit card in different stores in Basingstoke.

Molly Holgate, 32, who lives in Gretna, just outside Omaha, in Nebraska, lost her money on May 21 and 22.

She woke up in the morning to see her card was used by someone in the UK at six Basingstoke stores – Apple, Burger King, The Perfume Shop, Patisserie Valerie, Oriental Wok and iBroke My Gadget Basingstoke.

She has now lodged a complaint to Hampshire Constabulary.

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The mum-of-two, an autistic girl aged 11 and another girl aged six, has never been to the UK.

Molly, who just had a hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer, is also a carer for two in-laws and her dad who recently had a stroke.

Fortunately, her bank Wells Fargo has just refunded her the lost dollars, two months after the incident, but she is yet to recover from the shock of losing money in a country she has never been to.

“I was so frustrated and emotional and my blood boils when I talk to people about the whole situation,” Molly told the Gazette.

“Because of my surgery my hormones are through the roof. I cry all the time, I yell all the time and then I'm laughing and then I'm crying. That has also made it really hard.”

Molly said she first got a message from her bank on May 21 about charges in the UK.

“I also got a ‘travel plan’ message from the bank to allow my card to be used in the UK because the bank thought I was there.

“When I saw that message, we called and shut down the card, and then opened a new card. It was this new card that was used in the shops the next day. It was overnight here and daytime there in the UK. While we were sleeping, those charges were being made over there.”

Molly said she spent a day calling up the Basingstoke businesses to ask about the fraud.

“I racked up so much on my international calls,” she said.

“And the businesses said, based on how the sales were made, the person had to have a physical card or loaded it on their phone. And then when I looked into it more, it said the card was used via Pay Wave (contactless payment technology).

“The bank said the only way that they would have been able to load on phone is if they had all of the credit card information. And the only way it is possible is if we gave it to them. I was like ‘no, that's not even right’.

“They could have gotten it off of a gas pump or it could even be one of the bank’s employees. There's so many other scenarios other than that we gave it to them.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: “We can confirm we received a report of a fraudulent use of a credit card in Basingstoke in May of this year.

“A number of contactless transactions totalling thousands of pounds were investigated by officers. Officers carried out enquiries, however no suspects were identified. The incident has been filed pending further information coming to light.

“The cardholder, who lives in the United States of America, has been notified.”

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Police also cited the case to remind people of the following crime prevention advice:

  • Be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls, letters or emails from your bank or other financial institution asking you to confirm your personal details, passwords or security numbers.
  • Regularly check your bank accounts and chase up any statements that you do not get when you expect them.
  • Dispose of anything containing your personal or banking details by using a cross-cut shredder or tearing into small pieces.
  • When you receive your bank cards always sign up to either: American Express SafeKey, MasterCard SecureCode, or Verified by Visa
  • Do this even if you do not want to use your cards online: it helps protect you if your card or details are lost or stolen.
  • If you think someone is misusing your bank account details, report it to your bank immediately.

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