SALLY SORTS IT: Her daughter is being chased by debt collectors after an identity fraud

My caregiver daughter had her identity stolen right after Christmas. Then she received letters from four mobile service providers welcoming her into new contracts she had not signed up for.

The messages came from O2, Three, Tesco Mobile, and iD Mobile. We have sent letters informing each provider of the scam.

Three and Tesco quickly confirmed that the scam had indeed occurred. But O2 was sending default notices, disconnection notices, fulfillment letter notices, and arrears notices.

Identity theft: Scammers managed to set up four mobile phone accounts using readers’ stolen financial details

We called on January 29 and were told the case would be referred to the fraud department.

When we called two weeks later, we knew this hadn’t happened but would be dealt with.

By March, after several calls, we were told that the case had not been sent to the fraud team until February 24, and that we should allow 30 days for investigation. We are still hearing something.

Meanwhile, iD Mobile sent a message asking for details, and my daughter emailed it. But she has since received two letters from a debt collection agency.

We would appreciate any help as this causes quite a bit of stress. I worry every time the post arrives.

L-R, Swindon.

Sally Hamilton replied: Not only is it shocking that a scammer is able to enter into so many contracts in your daughter’s name, but it’s surprising that this type of fraud still continues.

It’s been a problem for years, often perpetrated by a personal con man who brazenly visits a store armed with all the personal details required to appear like a real customer, puts in a contract and walks out with an expensive phone.

Fraudsters increasingly practice this trade online and arrange to have the devices reconnected to a different address. They usually don’t use the victim’s bank details, but when the fraudster fails to pay the bills, the provider chases the debt through the victim’s address.

Your daughter was not aware that her personal details were hacked, but it is possible that she was stolen after the online data breach.

Three accounts were created using O2 alone, including one for an Apple iPad Pro that costs £76.50 a month for 48 months.

Payments on all fraud accounts were around £200 per month, which means, assuming all fraud accounts were set up for 48 months, a total of £10,000 fraud.

View scam

Beware of scam emails claiming that your TV license cannot be automatically renewed.

In one of the messages making the rounds, scammers pretending to be a TV license wrote that they were unable to get the last payment from the customer’s account and instructed victims to click on a link to set up a new direct debit.

But the link takes you to a fake website where you give scammers access to your personal data.

While a couple of providers quickly put your daughter out of her misery, O2 and iD Mobile (part of Currys) were running late — until she got engaged.

Money Mail has previously warned of a series of complaints about fraud at O2, but the company denies the fault of its operations, with a spokesperson saying: ‘We have extensive checks for signs of fraud at all points of sale, and in fact, UK mobile operators generally run checks. Very similar to each other.

O2 says the correct fraud reporting process was not followed by customer services in this case. She adds that her agents have now received refresher briefings on how to handle these situations.

A spokesperson says: ‘We apologize for the delay in resolving this case. We have closed the fraudulent accounts, removed all debts, updated her credit file, and will make a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience he caused. The gesture of goodwill turned out to be a hindrance that left your daughter frustrated, but she was glad the ordeal was over.

Meanwhile, Careys says the rogue iD Mobile account was not “taken action” when reported as fraudulent, meaning your daughter’s name ended up in the hands of debt collectors.

Her spokesperson told me her account would be liquidated and her credit profile updated – although there was no display of disability.

“Most victims of this type of fraud will not be aware of it until they check their credit report or receive a bill in the mail,” says John Webb, of credit reference agency Experian.

“If this happens, it is important to speak to the lender immediately or contact a credit reference agency to inquire about this debt and have it removed from your credit report.”

straight to the point

Please, can you ask EDF Energy to reissue a redemption check for my 90 year old uncle? His late wife was the account holder, but he has paid the bills since her death.

PA, Gloucestershire.

The EDF has requested that the £46.66 check that was written to the person responsible for her estate be canceled and reissued in your uncle’s name. He also cleared an outstanding balance of £7.49 and offered a £25 goodwill payment.

***

You signed up for a free trial with the video site Vimeo. But when I canceled, I did not receive confirmation and now charged £1008 for a 1 year subscription.

FG, via email.

Vimeo declined to answer my questions about the ease of the cancellation process, but a spokesperson agreed to give you a full refund.

***

My husband and I used to pay our pensions into our post office card accounts. When we were told these were closed, we set up a bank account with Co-op. Why did the Department of Labor and Pensions mail me a card?

GW, Stafford.

The Payment Exclusion Service card was sent to you in error. These are only meant to go to people who don’t have bank accounts or community accounts. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor and Pensions apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

***

After my cruise was cancelled, I chose to leave my £411 deposit with Princess Cruises to take advantage of my Future Cruise credit, which I can use on another trip. However, the money was accidentally returned to my travel agent, Igloo Cruise, and now no one seems to know where it is. Please can you help track this down?

CY, Sutton.

The two companies agreed that there was a “system error” somewhere. The funds have now been returned to Princess Cruises and the Future Cruises credit has been applied.

Lots of noise in the hostel

I stayed at the Broad Street Premier Inn in Birmingham for two nights in February.

During the second night, I woke up in the early hours to excessive noises coming from people in the corridor above me. In the morning the receptionist told me about the Good Night Guarantee at the Premier Inn and suggested I file a claim. I did it right away. However, my claim was rejected on the grounds that I had not reported it in time.

I would say the staff at the hotel were amazing and I have no complaints. It was the customer relations team’s reaction that put the company to shame.

JM, by e-mail.

Sally Hamilton replied: I looked up the guarantee, which says, “At Premier Inn, we’re so confident you’ll have a great night’s sleep, if you don’t, we’ll give you your money back.”

It states that a guest has seven days after their stay to file a complaint and refund room payments. So she did not dream about it.

I asked the Premier Inn’s parent company Whitbread why your claim was denied, as you not only acted within hours of the accident but at the receptionist’s suggestion.

I was told that your claim did not meet the warranty criteria as the outage was not reported at the time, when staff were able to make things right by silencing noisy guests staying above you.

You had to read the small font to know this was an exception.

However, based on my input, Whitbread agreed to refund the bill for the second night of £38, as a goodwill gesture.

“We regret the confusion this occasion has caused and hope to welcome General Motors again soon,” a spokesperson said.

  • We love to hear from our loyal readers so ask through this difficult time that you email us where possible as we will not be picking up messages sent to our postal address regularly as usual. You can write to: Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It [new column name to be confirmed Tuesday]Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk – include phone number, address and a note to the offending organization giving it permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send the original documents as we cannot be held responsible for them. Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given

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