Woman slams Asda after mother sold 3,400 iTunes vouchers

Freda Mudalige, 75, was duped by two cold callers claiming to be from an IT firm who conned her into making multiple purchases at the Asda store in Taunton, Somerset
  • Freda Mudalige, 75, duped by two cold callers claiming to be from an IT firm
  • Pair conned her into making multiple purchases at Asda in Taunton, Somerset
  • She made £250 transactions on two dates before relaying codes to conmen
  • Ms Mudalige's daughter Dilly, blames Asda for allowing her to spend the cash 

A daughter has slammed Asda after they sold her vulnerable mother £3,400 of iTunes vouchers which she passed on to scammers after they promised to build her a computer.

Freda Mudalige, 75,  was duped by two cold callers claiming to be from an IT firm who conned her into making multiple purchases at the Asda store in Taunton, Somerset.

Despite having a £250 limit per transaction, supermarket staff allowed the pensioner to make repeated £250 transactions on two dates last month before she relayed the codes back to the conmen.

The retired bookkeeper believed she was paying the callers to build her a computer, but her daughter Dilly Carter has questioned why staff at the supermarket didn't do more to prevent her from spending so much on the vouchers.

Ms Carter claims Asda is partly to blame for allowing her mum to spend such large amounts of cash. However, the supermarket giant maintains that staff 'followed the correct processes'.

The incident, which is being investigated by police, has prompted her to move the grandmother-of-one out of the home she owns in Bishops Lydeard, Somerset, and into her house 170 miles away in Hertfordshire.

Ms Carter, 36, believes her mother may have lost as much as £10,000 to various scams over the years.

The mother-of-one described the cold callers as two men with Asian accents posing as IT workers, who claimed to have offices in London, but refused to talk to her when she made contact.

She said: 'It's heartbreaking. I'm heartbroken for her. I feel let down because she's living on her own.

'They claimed they were building her a computer and they needed her to pay the money but they could only do it with these iTunes vouchers.

'She was told by Asda you can only spend £250 as a maximum, but they can keep putting it through in several transactions to total the overall amount.

'She added them up all herself and took them to the till and bought them in a huge bundle.

 Ms Mudalige's daughter Dilly Carter  (both pictured) blames Asda for letting the pensioner spend so much on the iTunes vouchers each time 

Ms Mudalige's daughter Dilly Carter  (both pictured) blames Asda for letting the pensioner spend so much on the iTunes vouchers each time 

'When they [the cold callers] ring and I answer, they hang up straight away. They know that's not an elderly voice

'They know my mum, they know her by her first name. They build a relationship don't they? They [the scammers] use the names Mr Peterson or James Anderson.

'Different voices, different names but they probably all work together. It's all a big con isn't it? They're just taking advantage of the elderly.

'They probably all work in circles and the same company. They probably get a few people that they think 'right it always works with her, let's call her and tell everyone else to call her'.

'The same thing is probably happening with other people in this area and others all over the country.

'Everything's cash - they made her get cash because it's not traceable.

'It makes me feel run-down and annoyed - beyond annoyed. I find it difficult to believe that would people would do that.'

Ms Mudalige, who has bipolar, paid for the vouchers across numerous transactions on November 15 and December 28 last year, using cash withdrawn from an ATM in Taunton High Street.

She had been receiving cold calls for several months and lost £500 in another scam last August.

Ms Carter said: 'They're [Asda] a huge store, I can't understand how they can let it go as far as it's going.

'All these elderly people that live on their own and haven't got their family round them, you'd expect that big stores, post offices, places like that, would look after them.

'There's absolutely no way they would ever allow that to happen in my local post office.

 Pictured, the iTunes vouchers Ms Mudalige was conned into buyingPictured, Mrs Mudalige's receipts

The con men scammed Ms Mudalige into splashing out on iTunes vouchers, under the promise they were going to build her a computer

'My problem is that I obviously know my mum is ill, but it is Asda's responsibility to look out for elderly customers.

'Anyone buying that amount [in vouchers], you'd think 'what the hell?'. There must be something that people can do to stop this.

'My mum told me the assistants went and got them because they didn't have enough on display.

'They said they didn't have enough on the shop floor. They're spread around the store so they got someone to go and get them for her.

'How can anyone with the slightest bit of sense not think 'maybe I should tell my manager'.

'I just think they should have some sort of moral obligation and that should never have happened.

'If my mother had stolen that amount in vouchers, they'd soon be on it.

'She's moving into my house which has got no room, so she's taking my baby's bedroom our living circumstances have to change as a result.

'I don't want anyone to take advantage of her ever again, and I can't stop that without moving in with her.

'It doesn't help with her illness because she's stressed. It has had a negative effect on all the family.'

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were investigating the incident and had notified Action Fraud.

Asda said it had conducted 'a full and thorough investigation' into the incident and found that its staff had 'followed the correct processes'.

An Asda spokesman said: 'We have processes in place to help keep our customers safe from fraudsters and continually remind our colleagues to look out for the signs of these scams.

'We are in contact with Ms Mudalige and will do all we can to assist the police with their inquiries.' 

 

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By World Staff Writer 01/30/2017 03:15:00
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