Doncaster woman's 'overwhelming panic' after losing cash in online scam

A Doncaster woman has spoken of her ‘overwhelming panic’ after losing cash in an online scam – and has urged others not to fall into the same trap.

By Darren Burke
Friday, 25th February 2022, 1:56 pm

Louisa Dyson, 48, fell victim to an online subscription scam, which she says targets those who are most vulnerable.

The scam is designed to tie customers up in monthly payment plans without them realising. Customers are enticed through special promotional offers on products like weight loss pills, CBD, or muscle supplements.

Individuals will see adverts for these products on Facebook, sometimes with a fake celebrity endorsement attached saying how amazing they are.

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A Doncaster woman says she was conned out of cash in an online scam.

This is to really try and convince the customer to make a purchase however Britons are warned that “there is a catch”.

Once the customer has signed up and bought the product, they are signed up for a monthly subscription without realising it’s happening.

On BBC Money Box, reporter Athar Ahmad investigated the scams and spoke to Louisa who had fallen victim to it.

Louisa, who has fibromyalgia which causes “crippling headaches, muscle pains and exhaustion,” tried a range of medication but nothing had worked for her so she went online looking for alternative remedies.

She said: “There was an offer, buy one get one free on CBD gummies. So I thought, ‘Okay, it’s worth a gamble’.

“It was £38.99. As I put the last digit of my security code in, the pay had just flipped and changed and I had checked out.

“When I looked at it I saw that I had got these two products which they had charged me full price for. Not just this deal.

“That came to £100 and something, and they had also put in two bottles of CBD oil which I hadn’t bought.

“I felt an overwhelming panic, I felt hot and bit a bit fizzy.

“I thought, ‘What if it’s not just this £148’.

“‘How will I know that overnight more won’t be bought, out of my account?’”

Louisa contacted her bank who told her she could get her money back if she sent the products back.

She realised she was signed up for a subscription service and they were able to cancel any direct debits that were set up with the company.

Being an internet scam, it has “sunk it’s hooks into victims around the world,” Mr Ahmad said.

Gillian Schonrock, fraud investigator said: “In the UK there may be around 300,000 victims per year, losing on average £250.

“There is a responsibility for the card industry to keep their industry clean.

“We’re not talking about the odd fraudster, we’re talking about thousands of scammers and huge amounts of money.”

Mastercard told Money Box that they had set specific rules for sellers who want to take reoccurring payments on subscription basis.

They insist that card holders give clear consent when signing up to a reoccurring payment.

Britons are reminded to always check their bank statements and if they find these payments, they should contact their bank.

If money has been taken, people can try and claim this back from their bank, but it is different in each circumstance if they money will be refunded.

BBC Money Box is available to listen to on BBC Sounds.