Fraud: 'I had £18,000 stolen after my drink was spiked'

'I had £18,000 stolen after my drink was spiked'

12/4/2021 4:06:00 PM

'I had £18,000 stolen after my drink was spiked'

Fraudsters appear to be adopting the 'sinister' tactic of spiking drinks to steal money, campaigners warn.

"Thinking about [what happened] over and over is actually very worrying and quite scary."Ben Gregory, 26, believes his drink was spiked during a night out in Clapham in south London.Criminals then stole £18,000 using financial apps on his smartphone.

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A leading campaigner in the fight against fraud says Ben's case appears to show fraudsters adopting the "sinister" tactic of spiking drinks to steal money from victims.David Clarke, chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel charity, says people need to be alert to the dangers this Christmas party season.

"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."'Alarm bells started ringing'

Ben was on a night out with friends in the summer which went from a nice meal out, to a nightclub... before he woke up late the next morning unable to remember anything."I remember waking up... with no phone or wallet," he says."I woke up pretty dizzy, dazed, not quite sure what happened so obviously I was a bit alarmed.

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"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."

'You definitely think twice about socialising now'Spiking people's drinks is more commonly associated with men targeting women and with sexual assault as the motive.But in Ben's case he believes criminals had targeted him with the intention of both defrauding and stealing from him.

Over the space of just a few hours dozens and dozens of transactions, transfers and withdrawals were carried out using Ben's phone and cards.Two, separate, £2,500 overdrafts were created on his accounts and money in his savings accounts was transferred to current accounts and then withdrawn.

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In total, just over £18,000 was stolen from his American Express and Revolut cards and from HSBC and Monzo accounts."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."

Police investigating Ben's case say they have made several arrests.Image source,Getty ImagesInspector Dave Laurie, who works for London's Metropolitan Police, says many incidents of people having their drinks spiked, whether with sexual assault or theft/fraud as the motive, go unreported due to things like embarrassment or memory loss.

"[Spiking] is a terrible thing that's happening and it goes further than the impact on the individual. This impact will run deep. And we know many spiking incidents will go unreported," he says."There are ways we can try to help stop spiking happening in the first place.

"Buy your own drink, watch it being poured, don't accept drinks from strangers, never leave it unattended. If your drink doesn't taste right throw it away and get another one."How common?Despite lots of calls to police forces, charities and other organisations it's impossible to know how common spiking fraud is.

But David Clarke from the Fraud Advisory Panel says even if it is rare the consequences for victims are very real."We need big tech and big finance to come up with big solutions to this type of fraud, " he says."Yes individuals can try to help themselves, but there is a limit to what people can do.

"We need technology to help because the crooks are so advanced."As for Ben, American Express and Monzo refunded the money that was stolen within a matter of days. HSBC and Revolut initially refused to refund but reversed that decision once Money Box started investigating the case.

HSBC said; "We have thoroughly reviewed this case, and in light of new information we will be providing a full refund to Mr Gregory."While we have an experienced team looking for signs of fraud, as this case sadly highlights, scammers are unscrupulous criminals who use a range of techniques to exploit their victims. We encourage people to be on their guard."

Revolut said; "This was an unusual case where the payments were authorised by the customer but, as is now clear, without his consent. We very much regret the distress and inconvenience to Mr Gregory and we have reimbursed his losses."If you've been a victim of crime help and support is available at

BBC Action Line.

Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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Don’t leave it in the glove box, buddy. Hope you get sorted and police /banks too. Thieves hard if hard since covid reduced pickpocketing as few crowded areas now lock down over they care having field day be cause we let our guard down How have they got on his accounts without his passwords? Or fingerprint. Sounds dodgy as

I am 63 worked all my life from the age of 17 brought up two children bought my own home and I wished I had £18,000 to be robbed of Doubt it 😮 drinking at the pub and cell phone. No Expensive drink that matey Basically went on an £18,000 bender and told his missus he was spiked 🥴 Every financial app has a PIN, some 4 digit, some 6. Surely he didn’t use the same PIN for all of them and let someone see him type it in? Did he have a screen lock PIN? 🤔 Having all you stuff on one device that you take out with you on the p!ss isn’t a great idea anyway.

For another £18:000 I can use the power of prayer to track and refund you 🤣🤣🤣

Man, 26, 'lost £18,000 after his drink was spiked' in Clapham pubBen Gregory, 26, says that he woke up after a night out in Clapham, south London to find that someone had created several overdrafts and emptied his savings account. To BorisJohnson trussliz pritipatel and all MPs.We voted for u to be our government. To be government mean u have responsibility about the citizens. To protect them when they r in danger. To help them when they r in need. We r British citizens trapped in Afghanistan need help

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