A WIGAN pensioner has thwarted a group of unscrupulous con artists.
The 71-year-old Poolstock grandmother fell victim to a telephone scam. But after being talked into giving personal financial details, she contacted her bank and stopped money being drained from her account.
The attempted deception began when a man rang her home claiming to be from a government department. The victim who gives her name only as Pat, said: “He said I’d been over-charged for banking fees and that the refund could be immediately deposited into my account.
“He spent 10 minutes firing questions at me. I refused to give him any bank details and after a while he seemed to give up and hung up on me.”
Within minutes Pat was again contacted, this time by a woman who wanted to know her PIN number as well as the security number on the back of her bank card.
“She was very pushy and in the end I gave her the details she demanded. I can’t believe I did it but all I can say is she got me very worked up and I felt cornered.”
As soon as Pat put the phone down she realised she’d been scammed. She said: “I felt sick because I knew every minute counted. I was in tears as I rang the bank but I was put through straight away and the assistant was brilliant, assuring me that they could put an immediate stop to any money being transferred out of my account.”
Pat also called Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team and spoke with Brian Goulding, an enforcement officer, as she had recently attended a community presentation he had given highlighting the risks of doorstep crime.
He said: “This is exactly the kind of thing we warn people about. These thieves target the elderly because they think its easy pickings. And sadly it often can be. But Pat showed great initiative because she recognised straight away what she’d done and in spite of being very shaken and upset, responded immediately.”
Wigan Council’s Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst said: “Financial institutions will not call out-of-the-blue and demand personal banking details. By letting us and the police know you might just prevent someone else from falling victim to this type of crime”.
Trading Standards can be contacted via Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.