Severe warning concerning the fake “Amazon” scam as a retiree loses his funeral savings to a fraudster

People get scammed by email, phone, and even criminals showing up on their doorstep

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A retiree has been stripped of his funeral savings after falling victim to a fraudster posing as Amazon.
After receiving several calls on her mobile phone from “Amazon”, Barbara Watts chose “to press 1 to unsubscribe”.

She was put in touch with a ‘nice man’ who told her she owed a refund of £ 79.99 from the online shopping giant and offered to return the money to her bank account.

Instead, he stole £ 7,500 from her account, money she had saved to pay for her own funeral.

‘He said he was from Amazon and wanted to pay me back £ 79.99,’ said Ms Watts, 79, who worked for Halifax estate agents before retiring.

“He was very friendly and chatty, telling me that his wife had just had a baby and had been to Australia. He really hooked me. “

She added: “I gave her my bank details because I thought it was a real refund.

“But, when he finished the call, he said ‘if someone asks you where the money went, tell them you gave it to your daughter’ and then he hung up the phone.

“As soon as I put the phone down, I realized something was wrong. “

Checking her bank account, Ms Watts was horrified to discover that £ 7,500 – all of her savings – was gone.

She contacted her bank, Nationwide Building Society, but was told it was too late. The money had been transferred to an HSBC bank account and she says they told her they couldn’t get it back.

“It made me so sick,” said Ms Watts, who has four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

“It was my money for the funeral, I couldn’t believe it. I’m 80 next month.

“At one point during the call I had a cough and he said ‘go have a drink and I’ll wait here.’ That’s when I think it got into my account. the. “

Frighteningly, the caller called again and asked why the Birmingham pensioner had reported him.

“I reported it to the Fraud Squad and he called me and said why did you report me to the Fraud Squad?” I looked and the £ 7,500 was back in my account. But, when I looked again the next day it had been emptied again. Only £ 10 was left.

“When I spoke to Nationwide they said I should have read the disclaimer at the bottom of the account details when setting it up. “

Ms Watts wanted to raise awareness about the scam to try and prevent others from falling victim to it.

“I had received so many calls about this Amazon refund,” she explained. “I had ignored the calls but was sick of getting them all the time.

“I must have had a couple of calls that day and I just thought I was going to retire. I pressed 1 and that’s when they got me.

“The fraud squad said there was no money in the HSBC account now, but they would keep trying. I haven’t heard anything since. My daughter says she will take it to the Mediator.

“Nationwide sent me a new card but I’m afraid to use my card now. My family is shocked, they can’t believe this has happened. “

BirminghamLive has contacted Nationwide regarding the Ms Watts scam.

A spokesperson said: “Our member was unfortunately the victim of a scam where she was convinced to send the payment to a fraudster.

“It was not an authorized transaction, the member authorized sending the money to the recipient account. She was initially held responsible for the loss because her actions meant that we couldn’t show her the proper warning against this type of scam.

“However, after examining her situation, we can see that there were circumstances that could have made her more vulnerable to a scam.

“Therefore, we have decided to make a full refund of the No Blame fund and we will contact her to inform her of our decision. “

What Amazon Said

Amazon said it would never request payment outside of its website
(Image: PA)

An Amazon spokesperson said, “We take phishing, identity theft and smishing attempts against our customers seriously.

“Amazon does not send unsolicited messages requesting sensitive personal information such as credit card information or your password.

“Additionally, Amazon will never request payment outside of our website and will never request remote access to a device.

“We maintain a web page to help customers here. If a customer receives an email that they believe is not from Amazon, they should report it to our customer service. ”

Amazon advises people not to respond to a fake or phishing email, but to go straight to your Amazon account and review or make changes to your orders or account, then alert Amazon via its [email protected] email address.

Action Fraud Tips on how to protect yourself against fraud

People get scammed by email, phone, and even criminals showing up on their doorstep
(Image: PA)

1. Do not give out any personal information to organizations or individuals before verifying their credentials. Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails asking for your personal or financial information.

2. Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software and a firewall installed.

3. Banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Don’t trust emails or texts that ask you to click on a link and provide financial information, even if it looks genuine.

4. Sign up for Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever possible while shopping online.

5. Get a copy of your credit report on a regular basis and check it for any entries you don’t recognize.

6. Destroy receipts with your card details and mail them with your name and address.

7. If you receive bills, invoices, or receipts for things you haven’t purchased, or financial institutions you don’t normally do business with or contact you with about unpaid debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

8. Beware of messages, phone calls, or emails offering you unannounced business offers.

9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when scammers pose as a lawyer or law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you get back the money you’ve already lost.

Learn more about Action Fraud here.

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