My day job allowed me to intervene in a SCAM that was happening.
I earn a living repairing computers. As luck would have it, I arrived at a home where an elderly lady had requested my help with an IT problem, I arrived while the lady was on the phone to ‘Amazon Support’
The owner of the PC was in the same room as I started to repair the laptop, I overheard the conversation.
The lady (previously a CEO of a firm, a very intelligent person, not someone who would easily fall for a scam) had received a text saying that Amazon had renewed her AMAZON PRIME Membership for £79.99 and that she should call a number (supplied) if this was not correct.
The lady had called the number to tell ‘Amazon’ that she did not have Prime Membership.
The support agent had apologised and had agreed to refund the money.
Here is the important part.
The ‘support agent’ after asking for the bank details to refund the money, had asked my client to install an app to allow the money to be transferred. This application allowed the scammer to view exactly what she was doing on the phone and to record any information she had on the phone.
The scammer had said that instead of refunding £79.99 they had mistakenly transferred £7999.00, could the lady log into her Bank Account and refund £7900 (leaving my client up on the deal due to error of the support agent) – a seemingly nice gesture.
I had not heard the start of the conversation, fortunately I was able to intercede at this stage, I asked to speak to ‘support agent’ and quickly confirmed that they were not legitimate.
I stopped the call and contacted the owners bank. A transfer had been initiated but was waiting confirmation from my client.
Please be aware of this scam – it sounds convincing, it looks convincing – once the scammers have access to your phone remotely, they will ask you to login to your bank and can make it look like you have received a payment. (this is smoke an mirrors)
They will ask you to transfer money and will tell you that if your bank calls you, that you are to accept the transfer.
If you do this YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MONEY and YOU WILL NOT GET IT BACK as you have authorised this payment/transfer
I suggest that if you ever get into a similar situation that you ask the person you are in contact with to send you a letter, on headed paper, from the company involved stating the issue and resolution. Please feel free to confirm while you are on the phone, that you have no issue dealing with the situation but you are not willing to deal with this on the phone at that time. If the company is legitimate they will likely be recording this and will accept your request. Scammers will often pressurise you to make payments as soon as possible.
Big companies like Amazon can easily afford to be down a few thousand pounds for a week or two while this is sorted out.
IF (and this is a big IF) you receive a letter from the company in question. Call the number (not from the letter, use the internet to look up the number for customer service) speak to accounts payable and see if they have any information about your account.
Give it a day and contact your bank – confirm that the money is in your account and not open to a reclaim/reversal.
In this case, while I was speaking to the bank, we also asked for the credit and debit cards to be cancelled and re-issued just in case they had been compromised (my client thought she had passed on details of her cards).
I removed the software from the phone that gave the scammers access to the phone.
My client could have easily lost £7900 with almost no chance to get this back. The conversation took less than 15 minutes. It was lucky I was there.