Good Neighbours Can Help
Avon and Somerset Police are asking people with vulnerable elderly relatives or friends to help to make sure they don’t fall victim to telephone scams.
The call comes after officers worked with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards and local bank staff to prevent an 88-year-old woman having cash removed from her account. The lady called the Police on Thursday 11 May to report being bombarded with telephone calls at her home near Thornbury over the previous week. The callers initially claimed to need her bank details in order to process a repayment. She became suspicious and cancelled her bank cards but then started getting calls claiming to be from bank security staff investigating the earlier incident, but seeking personal details.
The woman told officers she became fearful of answering the phone due to the volume of calls and the pressure she was being put under. She confided in a neighbour who encouraged her to call the Police.
PC Lee Bainbridge, PCSO Haley Bromley and Trading Standards Officer Neil Derrick took her into the branch where they discovered that internet banking had been set up on her account without her knowledge. The lady does not have internet access. Bank staff were able to act immediately to prevent a transfer of £7,000 from her account.
PC Bainbridge said: “These telephone scammers can be very convincing and very persistent. We’re glad that this lady felt able to speak to her neighbour about these calls. We know that people who don’t have someone looking out for them can be more likely to fall victim to these scammers, some of whom callously persuade them that they are ‘friends’.“It’s really important to remember that your bank will never ask for your PIN, or ask you to transfer cash ‘as part of an investigation’. If you’re concerned about a caller who is asking for personal or bank details, hang up and call your branch from the number in the phone book or on your bank statement.”
You can report suspected fraud here
Do you have a vulnerable elderly relative, friend or neighbour?
• Check out information about common scams and how to report them on the Action Fraud website
and let them know what to look out for
• Help them get to the bank – or with online banking – to encourage them not to keep cash at home
• Just say hello – pop round for a cuppa and a chat. People who have regular contact with a network of friends are less likely to fall victim to scams.