I read through my credit card transactions. I've actually been quite good with my credit card of late. I've been paying off the balance in full and I've been spending a little more wisely than I was. So why were there three payments for over £500 through PayPal? I haven't been buying expensive crap online have I? No. I only buy cheap crap online. This jogged my memory, though. I remember seeing three PayPal emails the other day. They were telling me about PayPal transactions pending. They were for big sums and I reasoned that these were phishing attacks. Phishing is where you socially engineer someone to divulge their personal identity information. One way of doing this is to direct them to a copy of a well-known website and get them to log-in there. Once they're logged in, you've got their login details to the real website. 1-2-3 sorted!
I'd deleted these emails relating to fictional PayPal transactions. I didn't check PayPal.
This morning I checked PayPal and found 4 fraudulent transactions from the last 2 days, amounting to approximately £2000 worth. The other £2000 on my credit card bill represents last month's transactions and the bathroom I bought in the last few days. So, I've had to go online with PayPal and dispute the transactions (one of which was automatically reversed) and then ring BarclayCard and dispute the transactions with them too. I will not be paying for this. Nor will I pay interest.
I have been very quick to point out holes in other people's online security practices - use of insecure Wireless networks, for instance. Yet, it would appear that whatever I do to protect myself from online fraud hasn't quite been enough. I'm not sure how my PayPal account has been hacked. Maybe it's an exploit with PayPal, or maybe someone's managed to either crack or intercept my PayPal password. Either way, I've changed it, and I hope that this is not a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
I will be reading my online statements even more carefully over the next few months.