First of all, thank you to everyone on Facebook and Twitter who offered to wire or loan me money. Thankfully, my mother was able to wire me some money via Western Union, allowing me to survive until I got back to Scotland. The most difficult part of this process was probably negotiating the arcane queuing system used by the Belgian post office.
I’ve also found out from the Bank that the payments were made to two companies which own online gambling websites (something which I wouldn’t use, since other then very occasional bets on the horses and the odd lottery ticket, I don’t gamble). Both of these are based in Gibraltar and I’m not entirely convinced that either of them are actually genuine companies, since there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of corporate websites for either of them.
I did try to contact one of them by phone (having gotten their phone number from a WHOIS request). After being shunted around a few people, I was told that there was no-one from the accounting department in the office and given an email address to contact. The other company didn’t have a phone number online that I could find. You can see why I’m suspicious about these companies.
The inconvenient news is that a week later, the payments haven’t been taken from my bank account. My money is now in a limbo condition, where it’s still in my account but it’s unavailable. HBOS can’t apparently do anything about this as fraud investigations can only be initiated once money has left the account in question. Which is a tad annoying.
Hopefully this will all get sorted out soon.