64-yr-old conned out of £7,000 by phone fraudsters

POLICE hope the plight of a south east Northumberland woman conned out of more than £7,000 in two phone scams will serve as a warning to others.

The victim, who has asked not to be named, was rung up in June by an Asian-sounding woman claiming to be from Barclays Bank.

The caller said that she could help the woman claim back charges she had supposedly paid out in error.

She then convinced the 64-year-old to go to a post office and transfer around £1,000 to a different bank account, purportedly as a means of enabling her to access the money she had been told she was entitled to.

After transferring the money, the woman did not hear from the caller again, however.

A month later, the woman was targeted again, this time by a man claiming to be from the Inland Revenue.

He told her she has been taken in by a phone scam, claiming he could help her get back the money she had lost in June, then proceeded to take her in with another phone scam even bigger than the original one.

The second caller persuaded the woman to transfer around £6,000 to him in two transactions.

As was the case first time round, after the money was paid over, she did not hear from the caller again.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Reeve, of the police’s Northumberland area command, said: “Crimes like this are all too common, and it’s the work of criminals who are trying to prey on the vulnerable by very underhand means.

“I can’t stress how important it is that people don’t give out any bank details or personal information over the phone.

“If anyone rings asking for such information, don’t pass your details on unless you’re satisfied the caller is genuine.

“If you’re in any doubt, ring North Tyneside Council’s trading standards department and they’ll be able to tell you if the company is real.”

The warning comes as part of the police’s ‘if in doubt, keep them out’ campaign targeting doorstep crime, bogus callers and rogue traders.

Anyone with information on either of these two phone scams, or any others, is asked to contact police on 03456 043043 ext 69191.