One night at 6:28pm, I received an email from Amazon informing me of a recent order that I had supposedly placed.
Suspicious that this could be a phishing e-mail, I went onto the internet and logged onto my account. This was just the beginning of a set of unbelievable events.
When I logged onto my account, I discovered that £3979.44 worth of goods had actually been ordered.
In the first 6:28pm order, the following goods had been ordered:
Apple iPad 64GB WiFi + 3G with 12 month Apple warranty
iPhone 4 16 GB
Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (Wii) Video Game
BlackBerry Torch 9800 Sim-Free Mobile Phone Wireless Phone Accessory
Total for the first order (including delivery charges): £1,865.72
Between receiving the first email and logging into my Amazon account, at 6:39pm a second order had also been placed:
Adobe CS5 Photoshop (PC) DVD-ROM
Adobe CS5 Photoshop (PC) DVD-ROM
Adobe CS5 Photoshop (PC) DVD-ROM
Total for the second order (including delivery charges): £2,113.72
I immediately called my bank and cancelled my credit card that was being used for these purchases. I also changed the security details and password on my Amazon account.
The intended recipient (aptly named Jo King!) and the delivery address were clearly illustrated on the confirmation order emails from Amazon. Curiosity propelled me to pay a visit to Google Street View to look at the location – it looked like a very nice property in a very nice neighbourhood.
I wondered if this was a scam that I’d heard of before where criminals will occupy a vacant property & order lots of items. They are delivered the next day, after which the criminals will vacate the property never to be seen again.
Concerned for my finances, I then called up Amazon to inform them of the fraud that was currently taking place on my account. I was put on hold for 12 minutes.
Even though I insisted that the £4000 worth of orders were not being placed by myself and that it was fraudulent activity – Amazon refused to help.
Amazon simply stated that because all the orders were for Market Place sellers, it was my responsibility to contact the sellers and negotiate cancellation.
Surprised by Amazon’s lack of concern and propelled by the possibility that the criminals might be waiting in this nice property that I could see on the computer screen for the items to be delivered tomorrow morning, I made a call to Crimestoppers to see if they would be interested in this information.
Crimestoppers simply gave me a telephone number for Consumer Direct.
I then began emailing all the marketplace sellers. Unfortunately, during the 30 minutes spent writing these emails, more orders were placed. I received another email at 7:07pm for the following items –
Gran Turismo 5 (PS3) Video Game
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (PS3) Video Game
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (PS3) Video Game
Total for the third order (including delivery charges): £130.98
It was at this point that I stopped panicking and gained a little sanity. Even though I had already cancelled the credit card, I also removed the payment method from Amazon to stop the fraudster from placing any more orders.
The fraudster simply added another (presumably stolen) credit card to my account and placed another order at 8:03pm –
Fila Mens Hooded Sweatshirt Brt Orange U86946-821 L Apparel
Fila Mens Hooded Sweatshirt White Large Apparel
Fila Mens Hooded Sweatshirt Blue Large Apparel
Puma Junior K-Street PS Trainer White 184035-03 10 Child UK Apparel
Fila Junior Promenade Mesh Trainer White/Blue 10 Child UK Apparel
Puma Junior 917 Lo Trainer 10 Child UK Apparel
Puma Junior 917 Lo V PS Trainer Little Boy 11 Child UK Apparel
Nike Men’s Pegasus ’89 Grey/Black Trainer 8 UK Apparel
Adidas Essential 3 Stripe Hooded Top, Size L Apparel
Adidas Samba Suede Indoor Classic Football Trainer, Size UK7H Apparel
Adidas Originals Hooded Flock Track Top – Black 50659 Misc
Character World Toy Story 3 Space Single Duvet Set Kitchen & Home
Character World Toy Story 3 Space Printed Plush Cushion Kitchen & Home
Fila Roma II Junior Black/Silver 6 UK Apparel
Fila Foggia High II Snr01 White 8 UK Apparel
Character World Toy Story 3 Space Fleece Blanket Kitchen & Home
Toy Story 3 Glitter Lamp Kitchen & Home
New Adidas Originals Dragon Mens Trainers – Black – SIZE UK 8 Apparel
New Adidas Originals Kick Leather Mens Trainers SIZE UK 8 Apparel
New Adidas Originals Dragon Mens Trainers SIZE UK 7.5 Apparel
Total for the fourth order (including delivery charges): £608.26
Considering the lack of interest from Amazon and Crimestoppers, I was now afraid that I would be thrown into jail for using a stolen credit card.
I decided to call the local Police (on a non-emergency number) where the intended recipient was located.
Thankfully the Police took it seriously and generated an incident number for me.
They explained that as no money had (as yet) changed hands – there was nothing that the Police could do.
The Police explained that to take any action, either i) something would have to be charged to my credit card ii) Amazon would have to contact them, or iii) they would pass the address onto their integrated crime unit and would only attend the address if their integrated data suggested so.
I thanked them for their time and sat there wondering what other orders would be placed that evening.
I couldn’t call Amazon to plead with them to call the Police as Amazon’s helpline was now closed for the day.
It wasn’t until 1:24am the following morning that I received an email from Amazon, recognising the ‘possibility’ that my account had been compromised. They had deleted all of the fraudulent orders on my behalf and suspended my account.
I called Amazon again at 7am, explaining the situation and pleading with them to call the Police – offering them the incident number that the Police had given me.
I suggested that I may not have been the only victim last night, and that other orders could have been placed on other accounts. I also suggested that other people may not have checked their email (and started the process of alerting Amazon), and that other possible fraudulent orders may still be currently being processed.
I suggested that time was of the essence and unless Amazon moved quickly, a lot of goods could be delivered that morning to the address where Jo King was temporarily residing.
The person working for Amazon simply stated that it wasn’t their job to deal with this kind of enquiry – and that the appropriate department was dealing with the situation. They reassured me that the appropriate department would contact me in due course if it was thought to be necessary.
Meanwhile, I guessed that the person sitting in the house that I was viewing on Google Street View may have had a very good morning indeed!
What was I supposed to do – visit the address myself? You’ve got to be Jo King!