Daily Mail

Fraud­sters claim­ing to be from Ama­zon bul­lied me out of £4k

- Crime · Amazon · Amazon Prime · London · HM Revenue and Customs · Lloyds Bank · British Gas · Thornton Heath · Data Protection Act 1998

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.

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 ??  ?? Money Mail’s let­ters page tack­les all your fi­nan­cial headaches
Money Mail’s let­ters page tack­les all your fi­nan­cial headaches

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