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