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.
Phone scam: An elderly reader was tricked by a fraudster who called pretending to be from Amazon and offering a rebate
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.’
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories.
Here are some in response to our special report on the small businesses who face going under if workers do not return to the office.
My colleague is very angry because a flatmate has been told to work from home from now on.
They have turned the communal dining room into their office, and my colleague is not looking forward to winter, when the lights and heating may be left on permanently to accommodate them.
It seems to me unhealthy that a worker should wake up, walk five metres to the desk, stay there all day, then go back to bed again!
M. P., by email.
The economy needs to restart and the Government is not putting out the right message.
If civil servants aren’t returning to the office, it isn’t setting a good example for others. I hope staff will get bored and miss their colleagues.
D. S., by email.
The easiest way to gain some momentum is for the Government to get council staff back to the offices.
Many town centres will see an immediate increase in footfall during morning breaks and lunchtime.
S. T., Manchester.
My shop is at risk of going under. We were closed for three months so we did online sales and offered free local delivery. But these customers have not returned since we reopened.
L. O., by email.
I work for a small business and understand these are tough times, but we need to adapt. Take some initiative and try to trade differently.
T. S., by email.
Our High Streets have changed gradually over the past 20 years, but what we are seeing is the need for change within months. It cannot be done that fast.
S. R., by email.
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.’
Straight to the point
We bought two train tickets to travel around South-West England with Great Western Railway (GWR) in March.
But the Isle of Man — where we live — then introduced a 14-day quarantine for anyone returning to the island, so we decided to cancel our trip. We are still waiting for a £201.40 refund.
E. d. L-R., Isle of Man.
GWR apologises for the delay in processing the refund. It says that this was because it had not received your returned ticket.
It has also been dealing with an unprecedented volume of requests. You should now have your money back.
My elderly friend has been trying to speak to Barclays about his investments for six months. He lives in Malaysia so I have been trying to help, but to no avail.
D. B., by email.
All you wanted was for the bank to call your friend, but it took my involvement to make this happen. He has now managed to speak to Barclays and is happy with the outcome.
I bought a valve from eBay for £44.99. Six months later, the boiler was not firing properly.
A plumber confirmed it was an issue with the valve, so I contacted the seller, Movika Trading. I’ve heard nothing back.
C. F., by email.
Movika’s records go back only 90 days and you could not provide evidence of any refund request made to eBay or PayPal.
Movika has refused to offer a refund and adds that it cannot accept returns after such a long period of time.
My wife and I booked a holiday at a Sandals resort in Antigua through the Avios eStore. I was supposed to receive 36,918 points in February, but they never arrived.
J. B., Lytham, Lancs.
There was an error and your booking wasn’t processed properly. Your account should now be credited.
- We love hearing from our loyal readers, so ask that during this challenging time you write to us by email where possible, as we will not pick up letters sent to our postal address as regularly as usual. You can write to: asktony@ dailymail.co.uk or, if you prefer, Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 D erry Street, London W8 5TT — please include your daytime phone number, postal address and a separate note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Tony Hazell. We regret we cannot reply to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.