THE scale of a major fraud that has hit building society customers in Huddersfield continues to emerge.
The Examiner has been flooded with calls and emails from people who have had thousands of pounds stolen from accounts, apparently by fraudsters in the USA.
In one case a couple from Meltham lost more than £20,000.
It comes after we reported the case on Friday of Nationwide customers Austin and Kate Myall, of Gledholt, who were fleeced out of nearly £3,000 by criminals in Houston, Texas.
The vast majority of the cash showed on statements as being spent at Wal-Mart stores.
On Saturday we reported that a number of other victims had come forward having been defrauded in almost identical circumstances.
Since then dozens of people have reported being hit.
In most cases, a small amount appears to be spent at a Texas petrol station, before purchases of hundreds of dollars are made at Wal-Mart stores.
Nearly all the victims who have come forward are Nationwide customers who have lost money in March and April.
APACS, the UK trade association for card providers, said customers of other banks were just as vulnerable.
A spokesman said the matter was “commercially sensitive” but added: “We are aware of this situation and it doesn’t just involve Nationwide. There are other card holders from other issuers who are affected.”
He said the organisation’s dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit – the special police unit that tackles cheque and card fraud criminals – was not currently investigating the matter.
He added: “We have advised who we need to advise and there may be a situation where the police become involved.”
Among the customers who contacted the Examiner were a Meltham couple who lost more than £20,000.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “We realised there was a problem when my husband went to get petrol and the card was rejected.
“When he tried to use it again it was rejected again, so we contacted the bank.
“The manager rang to say all the money had gone from the account, as well as the overdraft.”
Another woman said her grand-parents, who live in Brighouse, had about £1,800 stolen.
She said: “The bank have told my grandma that there has been so many people who have had the same thing done to them.”
A retired couple from Lindley were also hit. They said: “On March 24 and 25, some £5,628.14 was taken from our joint account, using a card which had been replaced on 23 February.
“There were 18 transactions all at Wal-Mart outlets in America.
“Apparently chopping up your old card when a new one is issued still leaves the old card active for 90 days.
“I realised something was wrong when I tried to do a small payment by internet banking on the 24th. The payment was refused. Our account was massively overdrawn by about £2,700.”
Emma Clough, of Huddersfield, was on holiday in Newquay when she discovered she had lost nearly £2,800.
She said she was told the details had been cloned from an old bank card.
Nationwide customers have received or been promised their money back.
The building society said last week it believed the source of the fraud was a Huddersfield retail outlet.
Yesterday a spokeswoman added: “In cases where genuine fraud has taken place, we report it to APACS, which collates the information, and if they get a number of incidents in the same area, they may decide to investigate.”
West Yorkshire Police said it was not investigating the matter.