The catalogue advertises hearing aids, compression socks and a shoe insole that can improve sexual performance. Fill in the form with your credit card details, mail it off in the pre-labelled envelope, and three weeks later, your pet-hair vacuum, porcelain clock and denture cleaners arrive.

In the internet age, it’s a peculiarly old-fashioned system, but then most of Sam Campisi’s customers are elderly, and since he established his successful mail-order business Health Pride in 1993, it’s always worked.

That is, until late last year. At first, they hardly noticed. But by January, Campisi realised he had a serious problem. By February, it had “blown up”.

Health Pride’s mail was being intercepted, and scammers were tricking customers into handing over their CVC numbers – the three-digit pin code on the back of every credit card – and stealing their money.

“It’s the first time this has ever happened,” says…

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