Police appeal made after Thornbury woman foils phone scam

June 22 2017

PEOPLE with vulnerable elderly relatives, friends or neighbours have been asked to help prevent them falling victim to telephone scams after a Thornbury woman nearly lost £7,000.

PEOPLE with vulnerable elderly relatives, friends or neighbours have been asked to help prevent them falling victim to telephone scams after a Thornbury woman nearly lost £7,000. 

The appeal comes after police worked with South Gloucestershire trading standards officers and local bank staff to stop the 88-year-old woman having the cash removed from her account. 

The woman contacted the police to report being bombarded with telephone calls at her home near the town.

She said the callers initially claimed to need her bank details in order to process a repayment.

Although she became suspicious and cancelled her bank cards, she then started getting calls claiming to be from bank security staff investigating the earlier incident and seeking personal details. 

The woman became frightened of answering the phone due to the volume of calls and the pressure she was being put under but when confiding in a neighbour, was urged to call the police. 

Two officers and trading standards officer Neil Derrick took her to her bank, where they discovered internet banking had been set up on her account without her knowledge - she also did not have any internet access.

As a result, bank staff immediately prevented a transfer of £7,000 from her account. 

PC Lee 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.” 

Suspected fraud can be reported online at www.actionfraud.police.uk