Posted: Thu 29th Mar 2018

Cruel fraudsters con North Wales pensioner out of £300,000 in phone scam

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 29th, 2018

Police have revealed an elderly man from North Wales lost nearly £300,000 of his life-savings after being targeted by “cruel” scammers.

The man fell victim to a ploy used by the scammers who ring potential targets warning they were at risk of losing their life-savings because a dishonest bank employee was stealing from their bank account. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They are told only way of safeguarding their money was to temporarily transfer their money into another “safe account.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Scammers contacted the pensioner on the phone, he received a series of phone calls spread over a couple of weeks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The victim was told the two banks that he banked with were involved with fraud and the scammer gave him bank account numbers to transfer money to. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The man went to the bank and transferred about £270,000, the scammer promised the money would be returned to his account once the spoof investigation was completed but it never was. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

At no point during those couple of weeks did the victim suspect anything was wrong an scammers also succeeded in making a fraudulent application for a £25,000 loan in the man’s name. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As you can imagine, this victim was absolutely devastated when the horrible truth dawned” said PC David Hall, North Wales Police financial abuse safeguarding officer. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Losing what might have been their whole life savings has an awful impact and can be catastrophic for that person and their family as well. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“To make matter worse, vulnerable people can also be subjected to a double whammy because the details of victims of successful scam will be passed on and then another fraudster will try it on.” PC Hall added. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has been told at least one case is coming to light every day in the region. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He was speaking after being briefed about the scale of the problem by PC Hall. Mr Jones, revealed he would be adjusting his blueprint for policing the area to take account of the rising tide of financial fraud. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “Protecting vulnerable people is a cornerstone of my Police and Crime Plan and these cruel fraudsters are ruthlessly targeting vulnerable people in North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“In the first instance though, we must to everything in our power to warn potential victims to be on their guard and to be wary of unsolicited phone calls relating to their personal finances. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It is vitally important that people do not accept what they are told at face value and to Take Five to check things out properly and separately with their bank.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

According to PC Hall, “several million pounds” a year is lost by victims of fraud and cybercrime in North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

PC David Hall and Police and crime commissioner for North Wales Arfon Jones

PC Hall said: “Vulnerable people are being targeted in a number of ways – by email, by phone, by letter or even in person and as a result they could lose their life savings. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The most frequent cases involve phone call ones where the scammers say they’re from the police, the fraud department at the bank, mobile phone company, the Inland Revenue or even the National Crime Agency asking them to move money to safe accounts because people in the branches are involved in fraud. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They’ll probably keep them on the phone for several hours at a time, over several days, several weeks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They will socially engineer them to believe what they are saying where they will present to the bank to transfer the money that they will be asked certain questions and why they’re transferring it, they will be able to answer those questions, and the money will be transferred. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I would say we have several calls every day in relation to this type of fraud within North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s not always large amount – it could be a £100, £1,000, £5,000. The amounts vary but what they will do is they will contact them, and they will keep on contacting them over and over until they’ve got their end game which is to have the money transferred. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They’re very clever and very plausible. The victims are conned into believing that the people that they are speaking to is a police officer or somebody from the fraud department in that bank. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Arfon Jones said: “I would encourage people not to be too embarrassed to report and to contact North Wales Police by ringing the non-emergency number, 101, or contacting Action Fraud, which is UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I take this crime very seriously, it is a cruel and despicable way of stealing money from often vulnerable people. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The perpetrators are the lowest of the low. It’s taking advantage of somebody’s mother, somebody’s grandparent, somebody’s father. It could be anybody. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If vulnerable people are identified they can receive visits from PCSOs or police officers to see if there is any additional safeguarding that that we can put in place for them like call blockers.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Anybody who receives a suspicious unsolicited call, email. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They should initially visit Action Fraud via the website https://actionfraud.police.uk/ or ringing them on 0300 123 2040. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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A police boss has issued an urgent warning about “cruel” scammers who are targeting vulnerable people in North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Among their recent victims is a pensioner in his 60s who was left devastated after being conned out of nearly £300,000 of his life-savings. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has been told at least one case is coming to light every day in the region. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He was speaking after being briefed about the scale of the problem by PC David Hall, North Wales Police’s financial abuse safeguarding officer. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, revealed he would be adjusting his blueprint for policing the area to take account of the rising tide of financial fraud. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “Protecting vulnerable people is a cornerstone of my Police and Crime Plan and these cruel fraudsters are ruthlessly targeting vulnerable people in North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“In the first instance though, we must to everything in our power to warn potential victims to be on their guard and to be wary of unsolicited phone calls relating to their personal finances. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It is vitally important that people do not accept what they are told at face value and to Take Five to check things out properly and separately with their bank.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

According to PC Hall, “several million pounds” a year is lost by victims of fraud and cybercrime in North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

One popular ploy used by the scammers was to ring potential targets warning they were at risk of losing their life-savings because a dishonest bank employee was stealing from their bank account. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The only way of safe-guarding their money was to temporarily transfer their money into another “safe account” which was anything but. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

PC Hall said: “Vulnerable people are being targeted in a number of ways – by email, by phone, by letter or even in person and as a result they could lose their life savings. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The most frequent cases involve phone call ones where the scammers say they’re from the police, the fraud department at the bank, mobile phone company, the Inland Revenue or even the National Crime Agency asking them to move money to safe accounts because people in the branches are involved in fraud. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They’ll probably keep them on the phone for several hours at a time, over several days, several weeks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They will socially engineer them to believe what they are saying where they will present to the bank to transfer the money that they will be asked certain questions and why they’re transferring it, they will be able to answer those questions, and the money will be transferred. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I would say we have several calls every day in relation to this type of fraud within North Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s not always large amount – it could be a £100, £1,000, £5,000. The amounts vary but what they will do is they will contact them, and they will keep on contacting them over and over until they’ve got their end game which is to have the money transferred. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They’re very clever and very plausible. The victims are conned into believing that the people that they are speaking to is a police officer or somebody from the fraud department in that bank. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Jones said: “I would encourage people not to be too embarrassed to report and to contact North Wales Police by ringing the non-emergency number, 101, or contacting Action Fraud, which is UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I take this crime very seriously, it is a cruel and despicable way of stealing money from often vulnerable people. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The perpetrators are the lowest of the low. It’s taking advantage of somebody’s mother, somebody’s grandparent, somebody’s father. It could be anybody. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“A lot of these people aren’t particularly gullible, it’s just that the fraudsters are very plausible. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If vulnerable people are identified they can receive visits from PCSOs or police officers to see if there is any additional safeguarding that that we can put in place for them like call blockers.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Anybody who receives a suspicious unsolicited call, email. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They should initially visit Action Fraud via the website https://actionfraud.police.uk/ or ringing them on 0300 123 2040. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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