A pensioner conned out of almost £10k in a cruel Amazon scam says the ordeal has left him feeling angry and ashamed.
The 69-year-old has now decided to speak out and prevent other people from being duped – despite not telling his loved ones about his own nightmare.
Simon* (not his real name) was on his way to a football game in January when his house phone rang. Running late and in a hurry, he quickly answered the call – but was not prepared for what came next.
The grandfather, who lives in Scotland, was warned there had been suspicious activity on his account and was advised to contact the National Crime Agency (NCA) immediately and place his money into their secure bank account.
Panicked, he did just that, but it wasn’t long before he began to doubt his actions.
He said: “I just wanted to get them off the phone as quickly as possible, but once I had passed on my details it dawned on me that it might be a scam. They just caught me off guard, I didn’t have time to think about it, I just panicked.
“They asked me to send £7,000 to an account for safekeeping, and once I had done that they called again and said I needed to send the remaining amount.
“When I realised what had happened I was in tears – I was getting angrier and angrier at myself. I’m 69 but I like to think I’ve got my wits about me and that I’m still switched on which makes it worse that I didn’t pick up on this sooner.
“I’m angry I didn’t ask more questions, I’m frustrated, upset - I’ve had every emotion under the sun since it happened. I haven’t even told my family because I’m so ashamed.”
But, Simon quickly reported the fraud to the Police and to his bank. Initial enquiries traced a suspect to the Newcastle area where specialist fraud officers from Northumbria Police were tasked with the case and the investigation remains ongoing.
Thankfully Simon received a full refund from his bank.
Detective Sergeant Phil Thoburn from the Force’s Complex Fraud Investigation Unit “We are all too familiar with cases like this where fraudsters call with an elaborate sounding story about suspicious activity on an account.
“These scams rely on making vulnerable people feel worried, panicked and anxious. Fraudsters will apply pressure and coerce you to make quick decisions when your guard is down.
“If you do get a cold-call, take your time, question the caller – write down their name, number and don’t be afraid to hang up and gather your thoughts for a few moments. Remember, police forces and banks will NEVER ask for your bank details, card numbers or ask you to send money. NEVER transfer money to an unknown account. If in doubt, hang up the phone and contact your local Force on 101.
“Fraud is a horrendous crime which strips away people’s self-confidence and trust and we are committed to making sure offenders are brought to justice.”
You can also contact us via our website using the Tell Us Something page, or by calling 101.