A telephone scam targeting elderly residents resulted in a 94-year-old woman being tricked into transferring her life-savings to a bogus bank account.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was initially contacted by fraudsters over her landline in May 2020. They claimed that her money was not safe in her current account and that she needed to transfer it in order to protect her savings.
Concerned, the woman who lives on her own, went to her bank in Nottingham city centre and asked to transfer the money under strict instructions from the fraudsters to not explain why she needed to make the transfer.
When the bank questioned her on why she needed to make the transfer, she explained that it was for home improvements and the cash was transferred.
It was only when she was contacted again by greedy fraudsters, who asked her to hand over another £25,000, that the bank activated the Banking Protocol and contacted police.
After a short investigation from Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud team it was clear that the woman had been a victim of a scam.
Nottinghamshire Police Fraud Protect and Prevent Officer Laura Murdock (pictured), said: “This was a disgusting incident whereby fraudsters have targeted a vulnerable person and tricked them into handing over nearly £50,000.”
“That is a massive sum of money and it is great that the bank spotted the scam and reported it to us.”
Nottinghamshire Police can confirm that the woman has since been refunded the money by her bank. However, Laura is keen for the public to be aware of such scams and is encouraging the public to ‘check-in’ on their elderly relatives.
She said: “Coronavirus social distancing measures have left many of our elderly relatives feeling isolated and alone, this puts them in an incredibly vulnerable position and it is so important that we check in on them and remind them that not every voice at the end of the phone is friendly.
“The vital message to pass on to your relatives is for them to take five and think about who is contacting them, remind them that they do not have to answer the phone to unexpected callers and if they do, make sure that they ask questions for proof of identity.
“Taking a moment to stop and scrutinise the caller could prevent this sort of incident from reoccurring.
“I am pleased that in this case, the woman was given a full refund but the banks are not obligated to do this, so please be cautious when talking to strangers over the phone.”
In a letter (pictured) thanking Nottinghamshire Police for their help, the woman said: “I am writing to thank you and your team very much indeed for your work of enquiry.
“Laura has been particularly helpful, very kind – a comforting presence which I have much appreciated.
“I do hope the culprits will be caught to avoid upsets for other people.”
An investigation into the report of fraud is ongoing.