Neighbour helps thwart phone scam in Stanton

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A phone scam attempt to steal £3,000 from an elderly woman was prevented, after she sought advice from a neighbour who realised it was an attempt to defraud her.

The incident happened in Stanton at about 1.30pm on Wednesday March 5 when a woman in her eighties received a call from a man claiming to be from the ‘fraud squad’.

He told her they were investigating a fraud at her bank and they needed her to go there and withdraw £3,000, take it home and call them back. The man said he would arrange for a taxi to collect her so she could go and withdraw the money, but that she should tell nobody why she was taking the money out.

Directly after ending the call, the victim received a second call from another man claiming to be from the police, who told her they had been in touch with the fraud squad and she should do as they asked.

Unhappy with the validity of the calls, the victim went to a neighbour and told her what had happened. The neighbour advised her not to do as asked and to call the bank, who told her it was a scam and to call the police.

Suffolk Police warn that in scams like this offenders often leave the telephone line open, so when the victims believe they have hung up to make another call to either the police or their bank, they are in fact still on the line to the criminals who made the original call.

Detective Inspector David Giles, of Bury St Edmunds CID, said: “I urge all members of the public to remain vigilant against these scams, and especially ask anyone with elderly relatives and neighbours to inform them about the tactics these conmen employ.

“Hopefully awareness of these scams is increasing, as two have been averted this week thanks to the vigilance of the taxi firm in Newmarket and of the neighbour in Stanton.

“However in two other cases reported earlier this week, one of the victims had money removed from their account and the other handed over their bank cards, from which attempts were made to withdraw money.

“I cannot stress how important it is to tell everybody that they should never give out card or pin numbers over the phone and that banks or the police would never ask someone to withdraw cash or hand over bank cards to anyone.”

If you have information about this crime, or any similar incidents, is asked to contact DC Ian Webb at Bury St Edmunds CID on 101, quoting reference number NE/14/156, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.