A scam which almost left a lady in her 80s out of pocket by over £6,000 has been averted thanks to the quick thinking actions of call takers at Suffolk Police.
The daughter of the 83 year old lady from Chelmondiston contacted Suffolk Police on Thursday 22 August stating her mother had withdrawn £6450 from her bank account in cash and sent it in a taxi to London.
Earlier that day, the lady had received a call at her home address from a man purporting to be a Police Officer from The Metropolitan Police in London stating they had a man in custody who had all her bank details.
The lady was advised to call her bank immediately to arrange withdrawal of funds and then send the money in cash via a taxi to London.
Believing the message and being assured by the man that this would ensure she wouldn’t be out of pocket, the lady made arrangements to withdraw the money and did so at her bank in Ipswich.
Returning to her home address, the lady was then contacted again, by a man purporting to be from her bank, who made arrangements for the money to be collected by a local taxi company and taken to London.
The lady’s daughter arrived at her home, to find out what had happened and reported the matter to Police straight away.
Inspector Richard Gubbins from Suffolk Police’s Contact and Control Room: “We received the call from the lady’s, understandably concerned daughter.
“One of our call takers took down all the relevant information and then the matter was picked up by one of our Dispatchers, who identified this as requiring prompt attention.
“One of our supervisors became involved and calls were made to establish which taxi company was used which resulted in the taxi being stopped on the A12 heading for London.
“The local taxi company had no involvement in the scam, having just been asked to collect a package to take to an address in London.
“The victim’s money has since been return to the lady and enquiries are continuing.”
Chief Superintendent Jon Brighton, County Policing Commander for Suffolk Police said: “People who carry out scams like this, prey on elderly and vulnerable people and use tactics which sound plausible, often scaring their victims into carrying out their request.
“It is encouraging to see that the quick thinking actions of team members in our Contact and Control Room averted this scam from happening and the lady has been reunited with her money.
“An investigation is ongoing to establish who is responsible for this appalling scam and in the meantime we would urge anyone who receives similar calls, not to part with their cash but call the police straight away.”
The following is advice given by Suffolk Trading Standards.
To avoid being a victim of telephone scams:
– Don’t give out any personal details like your address or ‘confirm’ details like your bank account number over the telephone
– Never enter your PIN into the telephone handset – your bank will never ask you to do this
– Never share your PIN with anyone
– Do not pay money until you have checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with.
This includes sending money abroad and using methods of payment that you are not comfortable with.
– Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
– If you receive a phone call from someone you don’t know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent.
Verify this information by calling the company’s head office yourself.
– Do not reply to unsolicited texts, e.g. texts referring to accident claims even to get them stopped.
Simply delete them.
– It is best not to respond to missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognise. Be especially wary of phone numbers you do not know.
They may charge you higher rates if you answer them and can turn out to be very expensive.
To help reduce marketing calls, sign up to the Telephone Preference Service.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service.
It is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.
It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (September 5) Echo.