It would appear that my premonition that 2012 is beginning badly is being borne out.
Our post was late today, arriving around lunchtime, and contained a letter from my bank informing me that they had identified some unusual activity on the business current account and that a member of the security and fraud team wished to speak to me URGENTLY.
Slightly worried, I called the designated number and had my worries confirmed when none of the security information I supplied on the automated transfer system was accepted. Despite having done nothing wrong, by the time I worked my way through to speak to a member of the fraud team I was in full 'guilt mode' and convinced that the FBI, CIA, MI5 and Interpol would all be hacking into the call to witness my confession to major financial fraud.
Apparently my account had been 'compromised', despite nothing having been taken, and, so far as I could understand, no attempt having been made to use my debit card information. However the fraud chap was adamant that their system had flagged up that the card was on the cusp of being used for nefarious purposes, and they wanted to check on three transactions in particular, made on 20 December.
One was for an online payment to a supplier I've used for many years, another was for £1.97 to the Post Office I always use for sending out orders, and the third was for a cash withdrawal of a relatively small amount, just four days before Christmas.
Now, call me pedantic, but I'm fairly sure that fraudsters wouldn't make use of my card to buy a small packet of craft PhotoFabric, then pop round to the Post Office in Battle Road to carry out a transaction for £1.97. I'll grant that the cash withdrawal directly from the business account is relatively unusual, but surely not enough to warrant a fraud investigation given that it was taken out from the ATM inside my usual bank and well within the daily withdrawal limit.
Having solemnly sworn in triplicate that the three suspect transactions were completely authorised and above board, the fraud chap equally solemnly informed me that in any case they would be cancelling the suspect debit card and issuing me with another which would be with me in 5-7 working days. Leaving me with the problem of how to make payment for some due bills for which I'm going to have to do an online transfer to another account then pay using a different card.
Part of me is pleased that my bank is working so hard to keep my account safe and secure, another part of me is annoyed that I'm being inconvenienced for no apparent reason. And yet another more paranoid part of me is becoming convinced that 2012 has it in for me and there's still 361 days to go.......