'It frightened the life out of me' - woman speaks out after nearly falling victim to £25,000 scam
PUBLISHED: 09:50 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 14 November 2018
(c) 2018 Archant Norfolk Prospect House Rouen Road Norwich
A Norfolk woman who almost fell victim to a scam in which she would have lost £25,000 said the fear of the experience left her in tears.
Jan Ames, 68, who lives in Ringland, received an automated message on her phone at 8.30am on Monday, November 12. Claiming to be from BT, the voice said that Ms Ames’ internet account had been hacked, and that she would receive a phone call to discuss the matter.
Five minutes later, a man rang and asked her to log onto her BT account.
“This person told me to fire up my laptop and he went through details with me. It sounded really authentic. He told me to do this, that and the other,” Ms Ames said.
The man asked the 68-year-old widower for her bank details. Ms Ames asked why he wanted them and he said it was for verification purposes. He told her he would lodge money into her bank account and then “clean the website up”.
“And after doing that I’d have to go to the bank and return the money they had put into my bank account,” Ms Ames said.
She logged into what she thought was her own online banking account - it showed a deposit of £25,000.
MORE: Scam artists pretending to be police sergeant and footballer plague businesses
Ms Ames said: “He wanted me to go to my local bank within 10 minutes. He insisted it had to be done within 10 minutes. I was getting suspicious. I said I can’t go to the bank in 10 minutes. I made up a story and said the doctor was coming. He said if you don’t do it, I’ll lose my job.”
The name of the company the man wanted Ms Ames to transfer the money to was Piri Cleaning Services.
Ms Ames put the phone down. The same number called again six more times but she did not answer.
Instead she phoned BT. The company said it had not called and that it was a scam.
Ms Ames then contacted her bank, which said no money had been transferred into her account.
“What people can do is set up an account that tells you the money has been transferred, and they expect you to transfer it back,” she said. “What concerned me was I very nearly fell for it... It frightened the life out of me. I was in tears. I could not believe I had let myself be drawn into it.”
A National Trading Standards initiative, Friends Against Scams, attempts to tackle lack of awareness about scams by providing information about them. It runs educational sessions either with a member of the NTS scams team or online.
For more information click here.
According to Citizens Advice, some of the most common scams include:
• Doorstep electricity salesman - Someone knocks at your door offering cut-price electricity but instead rigs your meter and you end up paying for the energy twice - first to the fraudster and then to the company.
• Subscription traps - You see an online ad for a free trial of a product and enter your card details to pay for postage and packaging, but end up being regularly debited lumps of money.
• Working from home - An ad offers work you can do from home. You are asked to pay a fee upfront but then find no work is on offer or you do the work and receive no pay.
• Miracle health cures - A seller promises a no-risk money-back guarantee when you buy a health product offering to cure a problem like arthritis, diabetes or cancer - but these ‘medicines’ are unlikely to do much good, and might even harm you.