Published On: Fri, Nov 8th, 2019

Online banking warning: The subscription scam that could cost you hundreds of pounds | Personal Finance | Finance

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Criminals are targeting members of the public with automated calls, which state that the recipient has been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription, Action Fraud has warned. The worrying scam has seen victims being connected to a scammer who is posing as an Amazon worker when they try to cancel the subscription.

Action Fraud said last month that they’d received 200 reports from people who have lost money to the scam since the start of September.

This has amounted to victims losing more than £400,000 collectively.

Upon receiving the automated call, victims have been told a fraudster has used their personal details to sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription, and told to press the number one in order to cancel the transaction.

Doing this however leads them to be connected to the real scammer, Action Fraud said, who poses as an Amazon customer service representative.

READ MORE: Credit card fraud: ‘Extremely important’ check to make before giving bank details online

The criminal then tells the unknowing victim the subscription was purchased fraudulently, and that they need remote access to the victim’s computer.

The scammer claims this is to allow them to fix a security flaw to prevent it happening again, instructing them to download an application called Team Viewer and then log onto their online banking account.

Worryingly, the software download grants the fraudster remote access to the victim’s computer, allowing them to see the victim’s personal and financial details.

There are other variants of the crime such as victims being told they are due a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.


Action Fraud said it has received a further 300 reports from people who received a scam call but did not follow the fraudster’s instructions.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “Unsolicited requests to remote access your computer should always raise a red flag.

“It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations but it’s okay 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.”

Action Fraud is reminding people to never install any software as a result of a cold call.

Amazon states: ”If you receive a suspicious phone call claiming to be from Amazon and asking for payment or offering a refund you do not expect, please do not share any personal information, and disconnect immediately.”

Scammers can target victims in a variety of ways, and this can include savers who have a private pension.

In 2018, the average amount victims lost to pension scams was £82,000.

New analysis by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has found that it could take 22 years for a saver to build a pension pot of this size.

Despite this, many savers could be at risk of losing this pot within 24 hours, as the new research found almost one in four people (24 percent) who were surveyed admitted to taking 24 hours or less to come to a decision on a pension offer.

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