In most instances, if someone gains unauthorized access to your bank account, it is not a good thing
. The best case scenario is your bank flags and blocks suspicious transactions and transfers. Or is that the best possible outcome? For Tim Cameron, a 30-year-old UK resident who lost his wallet, having his bank account subsequently hacked was a clever and kind gesture by the person who found it.
How can that be? This was not a typical hack in any sense of the word. The good Samaritan who found the wallet made a series of unauthorized £0.01 deposits into Cameron's account, each with a message attached. Deposits at Cameron's bank can contain up to 18 characters, and the person who found the wallet utilized the feature to positive effect.
"HI. I FOUND YOUR WALLET IN THE ROAD. TEXT OR CALL! [number redacted]," the messages in the reference fields collectively read.
Cameron lost his wallet while riding his bike home from work, he told the Evening Standard
. After realizing what happened, he tried retracing his route back to work, but was not able to find his missing wallet, which contained his bank cards and driver's license. That's when he logged into his bank account and discovered the four transactions.
The ingenious hack worked, and within minutes Cameron was reunited with his missing wallet. Cameron never refunded the £0.04 in deposits to Simon Byford, the 30-year-old software engineer who found the wallet, but he did him one better—he gifted Byford a bottle of red wine. Score!
Had the bank account trick not worked, Cameron said Byford planned to hand the wallet over to police, and would also attempt to track him down through Facebook. But it did work, and just as importantly, there's one less crack in our faith in humanity.