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Gran’s warning to buyers of Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons after losing £1,000 to parking scam UK News

An 88-year-old woman has warned other supermarket shoppers after she was scammed for £1,000 in an elaborate distraction scheme.

Grandmother-of-seven Lola Sledmere was followed from her local Tesco to her car, before thieves distracted her and took her bank card as her vehicle was unlocked.

She reported her money stolen from various ATMs, but was frustrated by the response from her TSB bank and local police. She was eventually refunded the sum – along with £150 compensation from her bank – but remains incredibly suspicious of supermarkets, pleading with them to help protect and support their customers against this type of behavior – reports The Express.

Read more: Scammers posing as police tricked ‘vulnerable’ people into handing over £700,000

The pensioner said: “As these big supermarkets, like Sainsbury’s and Morrisons too, are making so much money, they should be doing more to help prevent these things from happening.

“I think maybe they should have guards or certainly uniformed security moving around the supermarket because there needs to be more presence for sure. If there was just more presence, those criminals wouldn’t feel so free to act like that.

Lola Sledmere, 88, who lost £1,000 to an elaborate car park scam
Lola Sledmere, 88, who lost £1,000 to an elaborate car park scam

“Guards or security personnel could just walk around stores to watch for this behavior. They need to be seen so they have a uniform and preferably firearms, but I’m not sure that’s now allowed.

“I think that would probably stop this kind of behavior. I’m relieved to have my money back but I’m worried about others.”

It took around six weeks for the TSB to repay Ms Sledmere, who had resigned herself to never seeing the £1,000 again.

Ms Sledmere, who took aim at the Tesco Superstore in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, said: “I am absolutely delighted they have refunded me. I am not a wealthy woman so this is very important.

“At first the TSB was very flippant about it. I didn’t feel like they valued me as a customer. I reported the theft and it was like they didn’t care. or understood that it mattered to me.”

But the TSB had a legal obligation to do so, found, because it and other banks must comply with Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which helps protect consumers.

Professor Georgios Panos, an accountancy and finance academic at the University of Glasgow, said: “For a credit card, the law covers anything over £100. For a debit card, it’s £50. C is up to £30,000 for both so consumers can reclaim money lost in bank return fraud.

It is believed someone watched Ms Sledmere enter her PIN at the supermarket
It is believed someone watched Ms Sledmere enter her PIN at the supermarket

“The timeframe in this case – around six weeks to two months – is usually the timeframe in which we expect the banks to return the money. In the majority of cases, the banks can file their report and return the money .to consumers within that time frame.

“It can be a traumatic experience for the consumer. It can take between a month and two months for the money to be transferred back and it can be traumatic.

“It just takes the bank a bit of time to transfer the money, so in this example the time – six weeks to two months – seems reasonable. The bank has to process that.”

Ms Sledmere, who worked in psychology, contacted Thames Valley Police on March 4, but by then £1,000 had been taken from cash machines in Buckinghamshire and cash machines in Leyton, east London, 47 miles from the supermarket. Thames Valley Police investigated but closed the investigation ‘pending further information to come to light’.

Nothing has been done and the scammers are still at large. It has since emerged that CCTV, believed to be owned by Tesco, has been scrutinized by officers.

Professor Panos continued: “Obviously this is not the easiest crime to detect, particularly in the case of lost or stolen credit or debit cards where the cards have been physically taken from the consumer. The people, however, have increased powers and sophisticated units for these crimes.

“It may be that when suspects are arrested for other crimes, it turns out that they were also involved in credit card fraud.

“But consumers shouldn’t expect criminals to appear in court before they get their money back in fraud cases. Once the bank follows its processes and establishes that it was a fraud, consumers will get their money back.

“My advice to consumers from my experience is to have patience and have faith in the banks and their commitment to Section 75.

“I would also say get as much evidence as you can in these cases. That’s something we consumers overlook – we don’t take snapshots of transactions and withdrawals on our mobile phones to help our case. Keeping evidence will cost more these processes.

“You must report immediately when you believe you have been the victim of fraud, even in cases where this is not the case…

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This notice was published: 2022-04-30 09:19:06

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