It wasn’t meant to be a short session, it just turned out that way! For various reasons I hadn’t been fishing for a while so decided to take one last trip to the river before the season ended. It was mild and sunny as I drove to my usual spot, which I haven’t fished for several months as I wasn’t catching, but I decided to give it another go and see what happened. The first thing I had to do was to clear fallen branches from the bank to make room to set up my gear and try not to tread on the clump of snowdrops that were growing, although they were past their best. The first rod in was the feeder and before I could get the float rod set up there were twitches on the tip but nothing there, I put it down to minnows and decided not to continue with it. Trotting the float down a fairly slow moving stream with some colour I soon had a bite, a minnow! Followed by another one and another one and so on. The best part of the morning was seeing a kingfisher zooming along the river in a bright blue flash.
Getting fed up with this I had a look round and saw that a fence which stopped you walking upstream had fallen down so I decided to go for a look. The first problem was a small stream which I had to cross. I reckoned that I could jump it and put one foot next to the bank only for it to sink in the mud nearly up to the top of my boot! After a short struggle I retrieved it and crossed a bit further up where it was firmer. Then I had to find my way through the undergrowth and follow the river. My club does have fishing rights here but it is clear that no-one ever goes there. I followed the river along and found a couple of places that looked promising but couldn’t get too close as I was conscious of the sun behind me causing my shadow to fall on the water. Then there was movement and a decent sized fish of about a foot shot from my side of the river to the other. A bit further along and there was a shoal of fish jumping around in their haste to get away from me. These fish seemed very shy and I wonder whether the fact that I saw a cormorant in the river a while back had made them nervous! Then I found a swim which I could fish, it had some grass instead of jungle and a nice deep pool to fish. I decided to pack up and return to try my luck here.
Getting back to my gear was a trial, I found a large fallen tree across the stream and crawled across it looking very undignified for my years! I had just begun to pack up when I got a text message from my wife saying that the bank had been calling about unauthorised activity on our account and could I come home. Fortunately I was only about ten minutes away from home and as I walked through the door she handed me her phone saying that it was the bank. The voice on the other end was very well spoken and explained that they had detected a suspicious payment to Harvey Nicks for £700 odd and had we authorised it? He then asked if we had internet banking and when I said that we had, asked us to log on and check whether we had been debited for any payments we hadn’t made. While I was doing this he said that he had to check with his manager and while the phone was quiet I asked my wife if she was sure that this was the bank and he overheard this and came back with several reasons why they were including that he had not asked for any details of our account.
He then said that as our account security had been compromised they would have to open a new account with level three security and said that we would have to transfer our money to the new account. It was then that I got really suspicious as I reckoned that the bank could do all that from their end if they wanted to. When he asked us to open the tab to make a payment I had had enough and told him that he was a dishonest person and hung up! Even then he phoned back a couple of times, needless to say we didn’t answer!
Next we phoned the bank to check that our account was secure and after waiting for ages and getting fed up with being told how important our call was to them (though not important enough to answer the phone!) we finally got through and had a chat with a very nice lady who assured us that they hadn’t phoned us and it was a scam. She cancelled my wife’s debit card, which funnily enough had been used to try and make a purchase at Harvey Nicks and assured us that our account was safe. She then put us through to their fraud department and while we were waiting we had lunch, and a cup of tea and thought that they must be dealing with a lot of fraud when finally someone answered. He gave his name as Vladimir which made us wonder whether our call has been re-routed to the Kremlin but by what he said it soon became clear that he knew more about banking than invading a neighbouring country so we relaxed. Basically he repeated what the first lady had said and asked us if we had given the scammer any information or loaded any apps onto our tablet then gave us some advice on how to stay safe online. A bit of a waste of time really but I suppose it will get recorded somewhere and help someone improve things.
By now it was mid-afternoon and rather late to go back to the river so I didn’t. I was hardly in the right frame of mind anyway as these scammers are very clever. They know that you are all emotionally wound up at the prospect of losing money and in my case got me just as I walked into the house before I had a chance to talk to the missus, so you are vulnerable and then they sound so plausible that you go along with what they say. In the cold light of day you may think that you would never fall for it but these people are very, very good at what they do!
Still, it wasn’t all bad, I found a new swim to fish, even if I will have to wait three months to fish it and my wife has to have a new debit card so she won’t be able to spend any money until the new one comes! So, all’s well that ends well. Although I didn’t get to do much fishing our bank account was safe and no-one died. So that is it really, fishing lakes for the next three months including a new one that the club has just taken on so that is something to look forward to. Now, I think I had better just check the balance in our account!