Fraudsters claiming to be from Amazon bullied me out of £4k
I RECEIVED a call to say an Amazon Prime subscription was to be renewed. I told them that I did not want Amazon Prime. Then I was passed to a man who said I was due a rebate.
He said he would talk me through a cancellation form on my computer. I typed in £39.99 as he asked and it came up as £3,999. I was put through to a manager who became angry, saying I owed them money. He threatened legal action and said that my mistake could cost someone their job.
He explained that it was too late to stop the money going into my account, and that, to repair the damage, I would need to transfer £3,900 back to them.
I was very scared and agreed to this, giving them my bank details so they could take the money.
With hindsight I realise I should have checked my account first, but all I could think of was that this would rid me of the caller. When I checked my bank account later, the supposed rebate was not there but our money had been taken. We are in our 80s and the cash means a lot to us.
R. K., London.
You fell victim to vile scammers who bullied and harangued you into giving away your bank account details.
They are of the same ilk as the scum who pretend to be calling from HMRC and threaten to send police with an arrest warrant.
The call you received had no connection to Amazon. Legitimate organisations do not phone out of the blue and demand bank or credit card details.
These criminals seem unable even to add up, as the sums demanded in your letter show — but that would not have been uppermost in your mind when you were being threatened and intimidated by them.
Fortunately, there is a good outcome to this ugly episode.
I contacted Lloyds Bank and pointed out that you were a vulnerable customer. It had previously rejected your claim but agreed to review your case, taking into account all the extra information you supplied.
The fraud department spoke to you and understood better the sophistication of the scam.
As a result, Lloyds has refunded the entire amount, plus a £150 goodwill payment. A spokesman says: ‘ We have a great deal of sympathy for Mr K as the victim of a scam.
‘While he didn’t take steps to verify that the cold- caller was genuine, we have since taken into account the new information he provided and have refunded the cash which he transferred to the fraudsters.
‘ It’s important for people to remember that banks will never ask them to move money from their accounts, so if they’re asked to do this, then it’s definitely a scam.’
Remember, if you are unsure about a caller, hang up. Then — ideally using a different phone, because scammers will keep your line open if they can — contact the company or your bank on a recognised number, such as the one on its website, a number you already have or the one on the back of your bank card.
An Amazon spokesman says: ‘We take phishing and spoofing attempts on our customers seriously, and will never call a customer for payment outside of our website. If a customer has concerns or receives a call they believe is not from Amazon, they can check the amazon.co.uk help pages for guidance.’ OUR boiler and central heating system are serviced every year as part of our British Gas HomeCare cover.
The cost has increased from £374.99 to £386.32 a year, yet British Gas has now cancelled our annual service.
How can it hike the fee when it hasn’t serviced our boiler?
S. E., Thornton Heath, Surrey.
You make an excellent point — the annual service is an integral part of these contracts.
Your policy actually renewed on January 5, says British Gas. Your service this year was booked for February 10, but rescheduled to April 1 as the firm was swamped with breakdown call- outs in your area. Covid-19 then intervened.
I made contact and your service was eventually carried out. British Gas has also frozen your premium at last year’s level.
A spokesman says: ‘We are sorry for the concern caused to Mr E due to the delay in his annual boiler service and increase in HomeCare premium. We have spoken to him to apologise.’ A YEAR ago, National Savings & Investments contacted me to say that someone had tried to cash in my £29,000 worth of Premium Bonds, but that it had stopped them.
My problem is that I had £30,000 in Premium Bonds.
I complained to the Financial Ombudsman, which initially found in my favour — but, after further investigation, I was told that someone else in my family had cashed the other £1,000 many years ago.
I. L., London.
You tell me that the £1,000 worth of Premium Bonds were bought in 1984.
NS&I has looked at this matter again and confirms that these were cashed in by the bondholder many years ago.
This suggests that the holder was either your husband, who died 26 years ago, or one of your children. NS&I says the Data Protection Act prevents it from sharing the details of the person.
I pressed NS&I, pointing out that the Data Protection Act does not apply to deceased persons. It refused to budge.
It now says: ‘While the Data Protection Act does not apply to deceased persons, within the legislation that governs how NS& I operates there is an obligation of Secrecy provision that extends beyond death.’
While it would reveal details of a legacy to the executor of an estate, these bonds had already been repaid.