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A man has claimed he was spiked and had £18,000 stolen from him after criminals got hold of his phone.
Ben Gregory, 26, woke up after a night out and discovered someone had opened up several overdrafts on his banking apps and cleared out his savings - leaving him £18,000 out of pocket.
Ben had been out for a meal in Clapham, London, with some pals before going to a nightclub, but woke up the next day feeling ‘pretty dizzy’ and ‘dazed’.
And things went from bad to worse after he checked his phone and noticed the missing money.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I felt terrible, absolutely terrible.
“Over the next few days I couldn't stop thinking about it, couldn't sleep, found it very hard to eat. Because ultimately I felt worried and vulnerable.
“I had some messages on my work phone from my brother saying: 'Is everything OK [because] there's been an overdraft opened on our joint account. What's happened?'.
“As soon as I saw that, alarm bells started ringing because I didn't do that.”
Ben says someone had used his phone to set up two new overdrafts of £2,500 on his bank accounts. They also cleared out his savings account. Ben says in the space of a few hours there were dozens of transactions from his accounts.
His total losses came to more than £18,000 and were across four different accounts - HSBC, Monzo, Revolut and American Express.
Fortunately, he was refunded all the money back from the banks.
David Clarke, chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel charity, told the BBC: “Fraudsters are cruel, devious people online and in the physical world and people must be alert to the danger of having drinks spiked especially in the Christmas party season when people may be off guard.”
The Metropolitan Police have said their detectives are investigating a possible series of fraud offences targeting male club-goers.
A spokesperson for the Met Police told The Mirror: "A number of cases have been reported of men leaving club venues in the early hours of the morning and taking an unlicensed mini cab home.
"They later find that their bank cards have been taken and in some cases, their mobile phone or sim card has also been stolen.
"Some of the victims have stated that they have little or no memory of their journey home, or of their property being stolen, some have a vague memory of stopping during the journey to withdraw money from a cash machine.
"There is no evidence to support drinks having been 'spiked' although this is a line of enquiry."
The spokesperson added: "At this stage the potential linked series is comprised of 16 reports.
"A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud on Thursday, 23 September. He was released under investigation.
"A 38-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, 17 November on suspicion of fraud and taxi touting. He was taken to a south London police station and was subsequently bailed to return on a date in mid-December.
"The investigation continues."
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