Ask Jes­sica

Fi­nan­cial trou­bleshooter Jes­sica Gorstwilliams is here to help you with your money prob­lems

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Readers’ Letters -

In yes­ter­day’s pa­per I wrote about some of the themes and cases that dom­i­nated the 2018 post­bag. Now I come to the most preva­lent is­sue. Apart from com­plaints to do with tele­coms and power com­pa­nies, scams out­ranked ev­ery­thing else. They were var­i­ous and many, some eas­ily avoid­able and oth­ers less so.

MG of Lon­don was taken in by a cold caller who said he was a police de­tec­tive sergeant in­volved in “Op­er­a­tion Pel­i­can”, al­legedly an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into crim­i­nal be­hav­iour in­volv­ing money laun­der­ing by staff at the lo­cal Natwest bank.

MG thought she was help­ing the police by go­ing to the Natwest branch, with­draw­ing £5,700 from her joint ac­count and giv­ing the money to an­other plain­clothes “po­lice­man” on the false premise that Scot­land Yard would re­im­burse it to her ac­count. MG went home only to re­ceive an­other call from the same per­son telling her that they also needed a with­drawal, in eu­ros, this time to be made from a bureau de change. She com­plied with that too and, pre­dictably, at least to out­siders look­ing in, there was no happy end­ing.

PT of Le­ices­ter­shire fell vic­tim to a com­mon fraud when try­ing to pur­chase a ve­hi­cle on ebay. It was priced at £1,000 less than sim­i­lar cars would sell for. Given that it was sup­pos­edly in Aberdeen, PT did not try to see it be­fore pay­ing. The “seller” ad­vised that the way to buy the car was through a “hold­ing com­pany” that could be found through a Google search. Hav­ing found a com­pany with reviews on­line, PT sent £4,499 by bank trans­fer. The fraud­ster said the car would be de­liv­ered in two days’ time. That was the last PT heard of it. By then, all links to rel­e­vant sites had been dis­abled.

JW of south-west Eng­land had £7,715 stolen by a fraud­ster pur­port­ing to be a broad­band en­gi­neer. Un­der the guise of pay­ing com­pen­sa­tion for a ser­vice out­age, the scam­mer per­suaded JW to give him ac­cess to her com­puter, which al­lowed him to steal her on­line bank­ing in­for­ma­tion. Af­ter my in­volve­ment, Bar­clays, one of the two re­cip­i­ent banks, re­turned the £1,989 that had been de­posited with it and also cred­ited £100 for good­will.

Us­ing this as a prece­dent, JW con­tacted the other re­cip­i­ent bank, Natwest, which had ac­knowl­edged some funds had been frozen but had re­fused to say how much these came to. Natwest sought an in­dem­nity from the send­ing bank and then re­turned £1,706, which was all that re­mained of the £5,726 of JW’S money that had gone into the ac­count.

Fraud is part of ev­ery­day

John and An­drea Pres­land’s hol­i­day in­surance claim was re­jected

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