The 88-year-old grandfather has been preyed on by peddlars of junk supplements for over a year, conning him into buying multiple orders of the same products.
“The total they have taken is in excess of £9,000,” said his grandson Michael Tovey-Jones, from Chard in Somerset.
“It’s being going on since last September, there are more than one company doing this.”
Michael’s grandfather is widowed and his own children have died, leaving him vulnerable to this sort of scam. It begins with a chatty phone call, as Michael discovered when he intercepted one.
“They try to become your friend, asking about your health in general and your family,” said Michael.
“They were vetting me, trying to find out if I was alone or had relatives with me.”
This is a rampant scam, and only last month the Government’s Insolvency Service shut down two companies up to their necks in it.
Greenlife Wellness and Naturecare Wellness, formerly called Goldstar Wellness, bought lists of people aged over 65 with concerns about arthritis and joint pains. They then bombarded them from a call centre in India.
Irshard Mohammed, Senior Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “The sales methods used by the companies were manipulative, misleading and wholly unfair.”
Between January 2013 and August 2017 these two shams turned over £2million, with one victim aged 81 paying more than £19,000 for supplements.
The companies had the same two directors, Nitesh Dhawan, 35, and Virendra Thakur, 41.
Both gave as their home address an office in the City of London, while in reality operating from India.
Their cold callers falsely claimed to be medical professionals, said they were phoning from genuine medical bodies and conducting official healthcare campaigns, and lied about the health benefits of the supplements – tactics commonplace in this sick business.
Another incarnation of this scam was Elbon Wellbeing, run by Elvino De Souza of Goa in India, and which made £3.7million over six years flogging health junk.
After it was shut down in the public interest in October 2016, Colin Cronin, Investigation Supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said: “The company’s sales representatives made claims about the health benefits and pain reduction qualities of the health supplements which had no medical basis and implied that they had medical experience when they had absolutely none.”
A couple of months later, Souza Healthcare, also a UK registered company but with a director in Goa, was put into compulsory liquidation for using the same lies.
Last month, I told how a new company, Lifeline Wellbeing Ltd, was still flogging Souza Healthcare products, charging £250 for a box of tablets called ArticarePlus that supposedly eases joint pain.
Its letterhead gives an address in Perthshire, while its website claims they’re based in Manchester – but this is really yet another operation from Goa.
Then there was Greenshield Wellness Ltd, which was put into compulsory liquidation in the High Court in the public interest this July.
Its director, Kunal Shah, gave Companies House a virtual office home address in central London but lives in India.