September 20 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
A woman in her 80s has said how angry she was after discovering she had been tricked out of £14,000.
The lady from Maldon, who did not wish to be named, was speaking about being a victim of a telephone scam sweeping parts of Essex.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been stolen by criminals posing as bank officials or police officers since January 2013.
And in this case the money amounted to the woman’s entire life savings.
Now she has spoken out to warn others about the fraud.
“All my money has been taken and I do not know what to do,” she said. “I don’t know how I will pay my bills.
“It was dreadful and was extremely upsetting. I am still not feeling well and not eating at all well.”
The woman was contacted on April 29 by a man claiming to be from her bank in Maldon.
The man, calling himself Matthew Taylor, said he had been contacted by police about a problem with the woman’s bank account.
He asked her to call 999 and ask for Detective Constable Bailey at Charing Cross police station. She did so and was seemingly put through to the police officer by a female operator.
However it was all part of the con. The fraudster had kept the line open so when his victim tried to call the police she only got through to his phone.
The fake officer then told her to withdraw all the money from her bank account so they could examine it for evidence. He said she should to it from a branch in Chelmsford to avoid arousing suspicion and he would pay for the taxi fare, with the money being returned after examination.
After doing so the woman handed over the savings, which she had put in a box wrapped in newspaper, to a courier who called at her home.
At this point she still thought the scam was real and that an officer would be calling round the next day to take a full statement.
It wasn’t until reading a newspaper report two days later she realised it was all a trick.
“It was a terrible shock when I realised that I had been tricked in the same way,” she said.
“At the time I had no idea that it was a fraud. I think the people at the bank were suspicious when I went to take out the money and the cashier asked me to the manager.
“They asked me if I was being coerced into taking out the money. But at the time I did not think I was.
“Everything seemed so genuine and I really thought that I was helping the police and the bank to investigate a fraud. It just seemed so real.
“I felt really angry that I was tricked. I am not senile, I’ve got all my marbles and I had not heard about this sort of fraud.
“I dread to think what would have happened if an older or frailer person had been tricked in this way. They might panic and might not be able to cope with it.
“The criminals who are carrying out this sort of fraud are evil people. They are taking large sums of money from people and do not care about the hardships they might be causing.”