Age UK has issued warnings after an elderly Trowbridge couple were conned out of £78,000 in a phone call scam.
The couple, who are in their 80s, lost their life savings when someone claiming to be from their bank rang telling them they should contact the Metropolitan Police as their money was at risk.
After hanging up the phone they tried contacting the Met, but the original caller had remained on the line, and they then believed they were talking to a police officer, who told them to transfer the cash to an account ‘to keep it safe’.
After they did so, the couple heard nothing for several days and contacted the Met, who are now investigating the incident with Wiltshire Police.
Brian Deeley, Age UK Wiltshire’s chief executive, has urged people to watch out for fraudsters.
Mr Deeley said: “If you are contacted by someone who says they are from your bank never give out your account number or pin number as they should have those details already. End the call as quickly as possible and then find the number for your local branch.
“Never automatically redial. You might feel a little daft ringing and speaking to the same person, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you get texts or emails asking for account details, delete them.”
Action Fraud has taken up the case and is working with the victims’ bank to see if they can get their money back.
The couple said: “It was a lot of money that we have worked hard all our lives to get. It was not money that we had to spare, it was our security for our future, it was set aside to help us should one of us need care or even surgery as we get older. It’s absolutely wicked what these people have done.”
Mr Deeley described the fraud as disgusting and stressed no matter how embarrassed or upset victims of fraud may feel, they should report the matter to the police.
He said: “It is very easy to be taken in. There is support available for victims through the local authorities, ourselves and Trading Standards amongst others.”
Age UK has information on avoiding scams available in its stores, from www.ageuk. org.uk, or on 01380 727767.