SMS scam victim “couldn’t stop shaking” when hundreds of pounds were withdrawn from his account


A woman from Surrey who saw £ 740 disappear from her bank account after receiving a fraudulent text message said she ‘couldn’t stop shaking’ when she realized what was happening.

The first text purported to be from courier company Hermes on Sunday, June 27, indicating that Joanne Tate had to reschedule a package. At the time, she was really supposed to get a package from the United States and was worried about missing her niche.

The 45-year-old cleaning supervisor, who works at the Woking Mall and lives in Woking, said she had never received a text from the company before.

READ MORE: If these numbers appear on your phone, don’t pick up

She sent a screenshot of the text to her daughter, who said she usually doesn’t text but rather an email.

However, when her daughter Amy saw the link in the text, which looked legitimate, she said it had to be real. In reality, the crooks had managed to copy the exact link to make it appear legitimate.

Joanne paid £ 1 VAT to supposedly guarantee next day delivery and reorganize her niche. She put all the details of her card and her email address.

She said: “Obviously, thinking about it now, they would only ask for your account number, not all of your card numbers, but at the time we thought that was exactly what you needed to reprogram. so we didn’t think of any of that. “

Joanne expected quite a few packages back then that were coming from overseas and she didn’t want them sent back to America in case she lost the dresses she ordered.

The person behind the message called two days later, posing as Lloyds Bank. Joanne is hard of hearing and has asked her daughter to answer the phone.

Joanne said: “When I completed the £ 1 transaction I went to Lloyds online banking and it had not been removed from my account. [My daughter] said ‘It’s a Sunday so it could come out tomorrow or the next day’.

“So we left her and then she got a call around 3pm. They said it was Bradley Johnson from the Lloyds fraud team and they had seen a £ 1,000 deal from Liverpool. I thought ‘someone is trying to take the money out, what can We do?’

“He said the procedures in place were that they were going to cancel my bank card and send it out in three to five business days, which we felt was normal.

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“He asked if we had online banking and we said yes, but we are unwilling to give online banking information over the phone, so he said that was absolutely correct. that he was going to withdraw a small amount of money to know it was in the correct account, so he withdrew £ 1 and they were going to transfer it straight to the account.

“They then texted us to read a code that we read. He said ‘we know we’re in your account, we’ll create a new account for you, send you your new documents and everything, and for that. ‘instant, just delete your online banking and rip the card’.

Joanne and Amy decided not to delete the online bank account because Joanne’s daughter didn’t think it affected creating a new account. It was then that she saw the £ 740 withdrawn from the account.

When Joanne questioned this, the scammer said it was all part of the process of transferring the money to the new account.

She kept asking how she could be sure it was legit and not a scam. She said: “He said,” look at the back of your Lloyds card and look at the number we’re calling you from “and that phone number was on the back of our Lloyds card.

“So we figured the guy was calling from Lloyds because he managed to mimic the exact number on the back of the card and called with it.”

The scammer said he would come back to them on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. to investigate, which made Joanne think they were going to put an end to the money being withdrawn.

Joanne said: “Then we saw an extra £ 20 withdrawn, an extra £ 25 and then I got an actual text from Lloyds saying suspicious activity had been seen and they had blocked any single transaction.

“They stopped the £ 20 and £ 25 but couldn’t prevent the £ 740 from being withdrawn. To clarify this was a real call, right after the phone call we called Lloyds bank but have been on hold for about an hour.

“It was a stressful wait and [then] they put us in touch with the real fraud team who said they hadn’t allowed anyone to phone us today, there had been no transaction in Liverpool. They were just the ones trying to reach me to authorize the withdrawal of £ 740. They thought that by deleting my app, I wouldn’t see the transactions they were making on another account. “

Joanne’s daughter Amy said, “It was the most stressful thing my mom had ever experienced. She broke down in tears. She was shaking, she couldn’t even put a sentence together, she fell apart completely. . “

Joanne works at the Woking Mall

Joanne’s main concern was not being able to pay her bills, which were due that week. She was afraid it would put her in debt.

She said: “But the bank was really, really good. They said they could get the money back to my bank account in a few days. If it wasn’t for a while, they could cover me for a while. that my direct debit goes out and I can pay them when the money comes in. “

Now Joanne doesn’t trust any phone calls she doesn’t know about and has received four more text messages claiming to be Lloyds Bank from the scammer saying she went into his overdraft.

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Joanne no longer trusts ordering online and prefers to do it in person, which she says “is quite difficult as the stores are closing and a lot of things are online now, but I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Joanne says she and her daughter were told by Lloyds that it was not worth contacting the police, as they would simply inform the bank.

However, a spokesperson for Surrey Police responded with a statement: ‘We are sorry to hear that a Surrey resident has been the victim of an SMS scam.

“We encourage all victims of fraud to tell us about their experience or to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center. Vulnerable victims of fraud are encouraged to report to us directly so that We can guarantee the proper protection and to prevent any further infringement from happening.

“For SMS scams, we also encourage victims to report any suspicious text messages by forwarding them to 7726. This is free and allows your mobile network provider to investigate the origin of the text and take action on it. it turns out to be malicious. “

SurreyLive reached out to Lloyds Bank to comment on the claim it had been told not to report it to the police, but they said they could not respond without the customer’s bank details or permission.

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