'Frightened' bank fraud victims losing independence because they 'don't feel safe'
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 June 2019
'Vulnerable' elderly women have been scammed out of thousands of pounds after being told they were speaking to the police or their bank's fraud team.
In the past three months, NatWest has had three to four reports a week from customers in Clevedon and Portishead who have been told to move their money to a 'safe place'.
However, this has been the calculated work of fraudsters who show 'little remorse' for their victims who have lost their life savings and felt 'unsafe' or 'frightened'.
Community banker Karen Wood said: "I had one lady who was defrauded out of her money and we set up a blocker but even after that, she didn't feel safe enough around her own judgement and she ended up moving in with her daughter.
"Customers have had a caller who says they are from the bank's fraud team or from the police and have said even the branch staff cannot be trusted as they are under investigation for fraud.
"They are going to more and more elaborate lengths."
One lady transferred £8,000 to an account she was wrongly told 'the police' set up for her daughter and handed an additional £4,000 to a courier along with her bank cards and iPad. She is in hospital due to the stress causing a heart issue.
Karen added: "They seem to prey on ladies who have been widowed in the past 12-18 months or those who have a similar name.
"The other way fraudsters have been targeting people is through supermarket distractions. People are distracted while using their pin and when getting in their car and are having their card taken.
"People don't feel safe anymore, with some losing their whole life savings and have gone overdrawn.
"When a courier has come to their door and taken their money, they can be frightened at what will happen next.
"Some criminals feel like they earned the money and don't seem to care they have ripped someone off and taken their life savings. They show no remorse for what they have done."
Police say if you think you have received a scam call, leave it 10 minutes before using the phone again.
Karen works with the police and other community groups to spread the word about fraud and help reduce the number of cases.
DC Ashley Lockton said: "These fraudsters can be very convincing but please don't discuss your finances with anyone who calls you out of the blue, even if they say they're a police officer or from your bank. Genuine callers will be happy to make an appointment for you to visit them at a branch or police station."
To contact Karen, call 07711 763715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org