Following on from last weeks post about conmen praying on the elderly by claiming to have done work, then coercing their victims to withdraw money from the bank, here’s a worrying incident sent to me by reader Rebecca, whose mother was very shaken by an attempted phone scam.
Rebecca explains in her own words:
Thank you for doing this for me, it is with much appreciation.
Last Wednesday afternoon my elderly mother received a telephone call from a foreign ‘gentleman’ claiming to be named Alex Stuart calling from the Ministry of Justice, a government department in London. Apparently she was entitled to a payout of £4200. The man then asked her to confirm if the following details were correct and continued to read out her address, phone number, date of birth and most worryingly, her bank account number, sort code and card number. Mom was mortified he had all this information.
He told her if she paid a ‘small fee’ of £200 (which was tax and administration charges) he would be able to transfer the money in to her account.
Luckily Mom twigged something was wrong when he told her his name in a thick, foreign accent.
He placed her on hold a couple of times so he could ‘confirm things’.
He advised her she was to go to a shop called Johsal Convenience store at 478 Bloxwich Road. Here she would be able to purchase a UKASH voucher for £200. He would then call back on Thursday at 5.30pm to give her further instructions. He also gave her a ‘help line’ telephone number 0208 1447791. He said he would arrange for someone to fetch the voucher from her at home.
As soon as mom put the phone down she called us in a panic. The next couple of hours were spent reporting the incident to the police, contacting the bank and BT.
The whole episode has left mom (who lives alone after Dad recently passed away) feeling scared and vulnerable. She’s a very fit and healthy 73 year old who’s always on the bus going somewhere but this has really shaken her.
The police, the bank and BT were all amazing. BT have put her on the Telephone Preference Scheme which filters most (not foreign) cold callers and made her ex-directory.
Then man called back on Thursday, as he said he would. Mom did what the police told her to do and put the phone down on him but he called back again straight away. She was so upset she gave him an earful and it was his turn to put the phone down on her when she told him she had reported it to the police.
I don’t know how they manage to get all this information from people. She shreds and/or burns all her mail, she doesn’t email very much and she wouldn’t have a clue how to buy anything from the internet.
I googled the scam and it looks like it has been around a while. I hope that somehow they are caught and soon.
Kind regards and thanks again
When you get chance, please warn your relatives and friends not only about callers at the door, but about telephone scammers, too. A less streetwise lady could easily have been a victim here. Explain to them that just as it’s wrong to buy at the door, no matter how plausible people are, it’s just as important not to give personal details out over the phone to unknown callers. Any official company or department will be happy to let you call them back after checking with a relative or friend.
Scumbags engaged in the robbing and scamming of OAPs are lower than a snake’s knees, and I hope the police continue to crack down on these cowardly, nasty criminals.