I would not ordinarily take any pleasure in wasting somebody’s time, raising their blood pressure and upsetting their morning, but there are exceptions….
I had a call, apparently from Amazon, to say that my Prime subscription had been renewed for £79.99 but asking if I wanted to cancel.
Knowing it was a scam I took the call. After saying that I wanted to cancel I was immediately ‘upgraded’ to somebody else. He asked if I had access to a computer.
As it happened I had an old laptop to hand, devoid of data but in working order so I decided to see how they were going to play this.
I was asked to open a browser and was directed to the AnyDesk website. AnyDesk is a legitimate piece of remote control software. Following their instructions (and playing dumb and non-IT literate) I downloaded the program and let the scammer take control of the computer.
Thence my browser was taken to a fairly amateur Google form where I was asked for name, address, the amount I wanted credited plus my bank details. I filled this all in with fake data and the aforementioned amount of £79.99
After this a screen appeared confirming a payment of £7,999 – a hundred times the original amount. I was told that I must have typed in the wrong amount and that I’d need to pay back the extra. Scammer asked if I used online banking.
I said that I did but would have to see to this later as I had a medical appointment. This caused him to get quite agitated and tell me that if it wasn’t sent back right away then I’d be under investigation for money laundering. I persisted saying that it could be done later.
So aggravate matters further I told him that I needed the toilet and kept him waiting for another few minutes. Back on the phone he was telling me that the police would be called if I didn’t send the money back right away. Noting that the call was just coming round to 30 minutes I decided it was time for a break and put the phone down.
I wish I’d had a redundant online bank account with ninepence in it just to see what would happen.
My suspicion is that they’d dup somebody (the ‘patsy’) into logging into his or her online banking where, of course, there’d be no mysterious £7,999 deposit. They’d then say that the money was on its way and tell the patsy to send £7,920.01 back to Amazon to correct the credit to the original £79.99.
Sadly people must fall for this.
A minute later the phone rang again. Scammer was back with an irate “How dare you put phone down on me?”. I said I’d not put the phone down on anybody, this got an angry “Just now!”.
“Oh”, I said, “You were talking to my father, he’s gone to the clinic”. This invoked: “It is not his money, he must give it back. You need to log into his online banking”.
I told him I’d only just got in and asked him to tell me what the situation was. At this point he lost it.
“That is not your money, your bloody father must send it back”. He then said that this was money laundering and the police would be coming if the money was not sent back. I calmly explained that this was not a money laundering situation and the police would not come round until there’d been a proper investigation. This caused more ranting whereupon I asked if this was the sort of behaviour expected from Amazon employees. At which point, I am delighted to report, apoplexy appeared to set in at the other end of the line!
I toyed with telling him that he himself had been conned but reckoned he’d be more frustrated thinking that he’d come so close to a £7,900 payday.
Accordingly I put the phone down satisfied that he’d spent 45 minutes not being able to scam somebody else.