A NEWSAGENT wants to warn other businesses after a fraudster scammed nearly £1,400 from one of his employees in just 15 minutes.
Muhammad Saleem, owner of Grantham News, in the Market Place, is unsure whether his business will survive the loss.
He said: “I’m gutted. I won’t make in a whole month the amount I’ve lost. I’m not sure if I’m going to make the bills this month.”
One of Mr Saleem’s employees, Yasir Baig, received a call claiming to be from PayPoint, the company which runs terminals that allow people to pay bills as well as printing online vouchers, at 9.45am last Thursday.
The fraudster, who had all of the terminal details, told Mr Baig that he needed to reset the machine or it would stop working. Mr Baig asked the man to call back but the scammer insisted the process had to be done or the terminal would stop working.
Mr Baig tried to call his boss but was unable to reach him and after getting all of the man’s details, including his PayPoint id number, he proceeded cautiously. He followed the man’s instructions and the machine said the process had failed, as the scammer instructed it would.
The scammer then proceeded to ask him to print out UKash Vouchers, which can be used for online transactions.
Mr Baig said: “Something in my mind told me not to do it but he said there would be a problem with the machine. He told me there was no time left. He knew the serial numbers already.”
Mr Baig printed £1,366 worth of vouchers, which he was told would be refunded after the update. But that never happened and when he contacted PayPoint he was told it was a fake call and there was nothing it could do.
He said: “It makes me feel very bad. I have to pay it back because I’m responsible. I’m not normally here on a Thursday, it was bad luck and bad timing. I keep thinking back to it, there’s a lot of things I could’ve done differently but he seemed so genuine.”
He tried to cancel the vouchers but they were spent within five minutes of being issued.
Owner Mr Saleem added: “We were short £1,400 in one day. I think people with PayPoint terminals should beware.
“Being a retailer I think PayPoint aren’t doing enough to help. I feel let down. I’m not covered by my insurance. Anybody could’ve broken in and taken everything and I would’ve been better off.”
Head of corporate affairs for PayPoint Peter Brooker said the company do everything it can to ensure its agents are not scammed. He said the company is aware of the scam but it tells retailers not to perform transactions unless the customer is present with the money and PayPoint never ring agents.
He said: “It’s difficult to know what more we can do.”