‘In bits!’ Vulnerable pensioner targeted for £10,000 in cruel phone scam

Number spoofing scam: Woman says to delete messages

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The man, who remains anonymous, was contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a telecommunications company. As the man’s computer had been “running slow” for a while, he was easily hooked in by the scammer’s claim that there had been a fault which needed to be fixed.

The elderly gentleman was then told he had been hacked, and was persuaded to hand over remote access to his computer.

He was further reeled in by a claim that the supposed hacker was watching his bank account, and that his help would be needed.

Explaining the matter to The Isle of Thanet News, a friend of the victim said: “The scammer said that they would put a large amount of money into his current account and then send it to an address which they would email him.”

The man thought he was helping in a fight against crime, and that his funds were simply being used as “bait” to catch a scammer.

However, in reality he was having his bank account drained to the tune of £9,850.

Once he realised what had happened, he reported the scam to the police and to the banks. 

The friend of the victim added: “It is the anniversary of his wife’s death, so he is in bits anyway. I am fearful of his emotional state of mind.

“This process is extremely stressful for the both of us.”

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Sadly, the man is not the only person to fall victim to this type of scam which can often be very convincing.

Fraudsters prey on people’s willingness to provide help and be a good Samaritan, often taking advantage of this without a care.

Banks have warned people to be careful when receiving phone calls from out of the blue, claiming to be from a bank or well-known company.

This is particularly the case if a caller asks someone to transfer money, as a legitimate organisation will never do this. 

The type of scam in this instance is known as an APP scam or authorised push payment scam.

It happens when a person or business is tricked into sending money, usually a large sum, to an account posing as a legitimate payee.

Recent research from UK Finance has shown APP fraud has risen sharply, with the amount lost to this type of scam in 2021 hitting £583.2million, a 39 percent increase on the previous year.

Nearly 40 percent of APP fraud losses were due to impersonation scams, with criminals impersonating trusted organisations as in this case. 

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Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Authorised fraud losses rose again this year as criminals targeted people through a variety of sophisticated scams, with much of the criminal activity taking place outside the banking sector, often involving online and technology platforms.

“This is why we continue to call for other sectors to play a greater role in helping protect customers from the scourge of fraud.”

Britons have been urged to Stop, Challenge and Protect as part of a nationwide campaign by Take Five.

Firstly, individuals should take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or information.

Next, they should challenge as it is okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, as legitimate organisations will understand reticence and caution.

Finally, to protect oneself, individuals should contact their bank immediately if they believe they have fallen victim to a scam. They can also report the matter to Action Fraud. 

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