Wigan pensioner targeted by elaborate phone scam

Les Hughes who was the subject of an attempted scam
Les Hughes who was the subject of an attempted scam

A Wigan pensioner spoke out after scammers pretending to work for a telecoms company tried an elaborate hoax to get money from him.

Les Hughes was rung by fraudsters who knew he had been experiencing severe issues with his broadband and offered him compensation for the inconvenience suffered.

They were then able to recite details of his Talk Talk account and his banking arrangements and asked him to transfer a payment which they had ‘mistakenly’ made to his account.

Fortunately, a sharp-witted senior employee at Barclays in Skelmersdale recognised immediately what was going on and closed off all access to Mr Hughes’s account, saying the payment back to them would have given the scammers access to his bank account to siphon off money or set up a direct debit.

Mr Hughes, of Thorburn Road, said he was relieved the fraudsters were sent off empty-handed but alarmed by how they had got hold of so much personal information.

He said he was also a little unnerved by the scammers’ sheer persistence.

The 71-year-old said: “I thought I was on the phone to the resolutions department. They knew I had been having major problems with my computer and suggested how I could check it myself to sort it out.

“That should have rung alarm bells and then them offering me compensation should have been a second trigger, but my head was full of the issues I was having with my broadband and my insurance policy too.

“The assistant manager at the bank was absolutely brilliant. She knew exactly what to do.

“While I was in the bank they called me 17 times. I kept cutting the line and then was eventually able to tell them it had been resolved and I was reporting them.

“What I want to know is what Talk Talk is going to do to solve this situation. All my details have somehow been given away.

“All the time you hear of people being contacted from various sources and money being stolen from them. Fortunately in my case it was only a few thousand pounds but all of a sudden the lights came on and I knew what was going on so was in a position to put a stop to it.”

The fraudsters placed £5,299 in one of Mr Hughes’ accounts, saying this was an error and he should have received £299 for his troubles with his broadband. They then asked him to send it back to them to correct.

Since the scammers contacted him on Monday, February 11 and the wrongdoing was unmasked the same day Mr Hughes has submitted various enquiries to Talk Talk expressing his alarm the scammers had his details.

The company’s fraud department has told him it is looking into the matter.

The scam has also been reported to the national body Action Fraud.