Store warning over PayPoint con trick

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 June 2011

(click on image for larger view) Good Day's News. Milton Road, WSM. Ann Livingstone a victim of paypoint card scam.

(click on image for larger view) Good Day's News. Milton Road, WSM. Ann Livingstone a victim of paypoint card scam.

Archant

A ‘CLEVER’ credit card scam sweeping the country has landed in Weston, costing one shopkeeper hundreds of pounds.

Ann Livingstone, of Good Day’s News in Milton Road, was asked by a customer to load £350 onto a pre-paid credit card through a PayPoint terminal.

The man then asked for a mobile phone top-up but ran out the store with the £350 the shop owner was expected to be given with the credit already transferred to his account.

Within 30 minutes, the card, which was left with the shop, had been emptied and PayPoint was unable to reverse the transaction.

Mrs Livingstone (pictured right), said she felt ‘awful’ following the incident, and is now warning other businesses in the town to be vigilant.

She said the newsagent’s Ebdon Road branch had also been targeted, as well as two McColl’s stores in the town.

She said: “It’s a clever scam and a trap easy to fall into. You see the cash in their hand and make the transaction like you would for any other customer.

“But then, once he made the mobile top-up, he said he did not have enough money and ran out.

“At first I didn’t panic because I was stood there with his card and thought I could reverse the transaction, but within half-an-hour the card was empty and it was too late.”

The scam has reportedly been used elsewhere in the country and has been highlighted in national retail magazines.

It involves asking for the phone top-up after the pay-in request because it is only possible to cancel the last transaction.

PayPoint’s head of corporate affairs, Peter Brooker, said he was unable to help many shopkeepers affected by the scam.

Instead, he urged them to make sure they have the correct money from a customer before starting any transaction.

However, Mrs Livingstone said PayPoint could help further by enabling businesses to cancel money transfers after they have been made.

She said CCTV footage of the scam at her Good Day’s News store had been passed onto police. Anyone with information on the incident, which took place on April 27, should call 0845 4567000.

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