'Thank you, have a nice day': Telford man conned out of £18,700 by Amazon fraudsters
Fraudsters claiming to be from Amazon conned a man out of more than £18,000 before confessing it was a scam, thanking him for his money and telling him to "have a nice day".
"It was unbelievable. I was gobsmacked. I didn't know what to say," said the victim, a man in his 60s from Wellington who wishes to remain anonymous.
A convoluted phone call lasting two hours saw the victim given "official ID numbers" and passed from "department to department" while being hoodwinked into letting go of £18,700 worth of his pension.
The victim said despite seeming foolish, the "highly professional" operation began when a woman named "Jessica" said £39 was due for his Amazon Prime account.
"I received a message on my phone saying the money was due. I phoned the number and told her I haven't got a prime account and she said it sounded like my bank account had been compromised and I'd been scammed," he said.
"She passed me onto what they called the Amazon technical department and told me I needed to send a large amount of money to an account that could help locate the criminals.
"They implied I had been scammed by people from the banks I have my accounts with."
The "Amazon employees" were thorough and had an answer for every question he put their way, he says.
"I thought it was a genuine fraud case that Amazon were going to investigate," he said.
"I'm suffering with medical problems as well as family issues and my mental agility just wasn't up to scratch. If it happened three or four weeks ago I may have had a better reaction – I just wasn't thinking straight.
"I'm not stupid but I know I was foolish. I know I should have phoned Amazon directly but it was so believable and professional – you start to panic."
Having sent over £18,700, he was then told to contact his bank in order to transfer an even larger sum of money. When he did, his bank told him it was a scam.
The bullish fraudsters then rang back to leech more funds and it was then they were confronted.
He said: "They asked if I'd managed to send the other payment through and I said 'no, you're scamming me'.
"She replied, 'Yeah I am. I'm a hacker, that's my job. That's what we do and what we enjoy doing. Thank you very much for your money. Have a nice day'.
"It's a lot of money to me. I was hoping to stop work soon and use it to move house. I'm trying to get it out of my mind as I've written off the money – I don't think I'll get it back."
Amazon confirmed it was aware its name was being used fraudulently to carry out scams and urged people to contact the business directly over anything suspicious.
A spokesman said: "We take phishing and spoofing attempts seriously and will never call a customer for payment outside of our website.
"If someone has concerns or receives a call they believe is not from Amazon, they can check the Amazon.co.uk help pages for guidance."
Action Fraud said it has received more than 500 reports from people about scammers impersonating Amazon.
Detective Inspector Craig Smith, of West Mercia Police, said: “Unfortunately, these callers can often seem incredibly genuine and give the person no reason not to believe they are not who they say they are, however, we would always urge people to be on their guard.
"If you receive a message claiming an account has been compromised do not follow any links in the message or call the number provided as the likelihood is it's a scam.
"If you are unsure, contact the company via the details they have on their own website or the details you already have.”
Under similar circumstances, a Telford woman in her 60s was conned out of nearly £4,000 by conmen impersonating police officers in November.
A spokesman from Action Fraud added: "It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations but it's OK to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
“If you’ve received an unexpected phone call, or other communication, stop and take a minute to think about whether an organisation would get in touch with you out of the blue in this way. Instead, contact them directly using a known email or phone number.”
Anyone with information or witnessing anything suspicious should contact police on 101; Action Fraud on 03001232040 or actionfraud.police.uk; or Citizens Advice at citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111 or crimestoppers-uk.org
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