A family returned from a dream holiday in South Africa to discover they had been scammed of a record breaking £35k on their credit card.
Tristan Walters, 36, noticed the huge fraud when he got back from the month-long trip with Heather, 37, and their two children Billy, eight, and Phoebe, five.
The whopping bill appeared on his Sainsburys credit card statement and included nearly £14k on a stay in a luxury hotel they had never visited.
The family suspect their card was cloned at one of the hotels they used while they were away.
Their card provider has launched an urgent investigation and told Tristan the amount defrauded was a record for them.
Tristan, of Barnstaple, Devon, said: “I always use a credit card to book flights and accommodation in advance for any trips we go on.
“I don’t use it for anything else, I don’t even have a pin number for it.
“The first thing I saw was this enormous number – £35,000. I couldn’t believe it.
“It was weird because there were a lot of random payments on there that we actually had made – things like flights for upcoming trips to Borneo and India.
“But there were also a lot of charges for large amounts in the HluHluwe region of South Africa that definitely were not ours, although we had visited that area.
“One was for as much as £13,700 and another was for more than £9,000 – it was all for luxury five-star hotels that we definitely had not stayed in.”
Sainsbury’s told Tristan they thought his card had been skimmed while abroad – where someone takes your credit card details and replicates the card.
Tristan added: “It was a very professional job, replicating credit cards is a tricky thing to do by all accounts.
“Apparently all the payments were made via contactless payment as well, which seems very suspicious given the limits usually placed on those transactions.
“We think someone from one of our hotels must have been in on it.”
Tristan said Sainsbury’s told them £35,000 was a “record breaker” for them in terms of credit card fraud, and conceded that payments of this amount should never have got through their systems.
He said: “Our credit limit was nowhere near £35,000 – there has obviously been a massive mistake somewhere.
“But this is the reason I make all of those payments on a credit card rather than a debit card – if we’d been using our debit card it would have been a very different story.”
Tristan said it was the first time they had taken the kids to Africa and apart from the fraud they had an fantastic time.
He added: “It was an epic trip and we spent almost a month travelling around places like Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. It was perfect.”
Jennifer Johnston-Watt, of Sainsbury’s Bank corporate affairs, said: “Sainsbury’s Bank has robust fraud management processes and our specialist team is currently investigating this.”