WARNING: Scammers con elderly residents out of thousands of pounds
Police have issued a scam warning after an 87-year-old woman in the Wyre lost Â£1,800 after being targeted by con-artists.
A further three other elderly residents in the same area have also been scammed into transferring money to somebody claiming to be from BT, Talk Talk or Microsoft, say police.
Officers investigating the cases have now revealed that the actual figure may be even higher as they believe many victims are too embarrassed to come forward.
A spokesman for the police said: "In each case the victim has been told their router or computer isn’t working properly and needs to be accessed remotely.
"Once the scammer has gained access to the victim’s computer they have then made attempts to access the victim’s bank details – to check their bank balance – before persuading them to transfer money across.
"The payments, all for either Â£1,800 or Â£1,900, have been made to bank accounts in Nepal, Ukraine or China, using Moneygram at the Post Office or a local travel agent. The victims in each case have been told what to say when questioned or challenged by staff.
"Fortunately police were able to assist three of the victims – aged 83, 74 and 73 – in getting their money back, although an 87-year-old woman has lost Â£1,800."
Officers are now urging residents, as well as staff in businesses which enable international money transfers, to be on their guard.
PC Antony Gray, of Fleetwood Police, said: “These scammers are extremely persuasive and as a result several people have handed over money totalling thousands of pounds.
“We would now urge all residents – not just those in Wyre – to be vigilant. If you receive a call like this, or are in any doubt about the person calling, please hang up straight away and use official numbers to make contact with your bank and the named company.
“We would also ask staff in businesses which use Moneygram, or similar systems, to contact us if they are presented with any similar transactions to prevent further financial loss.”