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‘Convincing telephone con nearly cost me lots of cash’
A MAN who says he “foolishly” fell victim to a phone scam has swallowed his pride to warn others of the fraud.
Paul Fletcher, from Cutteslowe, is one of about 20 Oxford residents to report the con to police in the last six months.
The scam sees fraudsters calling victims pretending to be London police officers investigating a fraud.
Victims are told their bank accounts are insecure and told to withdraw all their money while a taxi is sent to their home to pick it up.
Banbury Road resident Mr Fletcher was targeted on January 31 and withdrew a large amount of cash from Barclays Bank in Summertown before he realised just in time that he was being scammed.
He said: “My message to people is to be on your guard. I had a close shave. At the expense of looking foolish I would like to help other people avoid this.”
The 63-year-old said the caller told him two men had been arrested and found in possession of his bank details.
The fake cop also told him someone from his bank was under investigation.
He said: “It was so convincing. I thought I was helping the police.
“They assured me that they would be safeguarding my money and asked my assistance in stopping it happening to anyone else.”
The scam sees the caller urge the victim to check their call is genuine by hanging up and calling the 101 non-emergency police number and also the number on the back of their bank card.
But the fraudster stays on the line and pretends to be police and bank staff while the unwitting victim verifies the claims.
Mr Fletcher said: “I thought I had cleared it with police and I thought I had cleared it with Barclays.”
The former social care chief executive said he realised it was a scam when the caller told him to hand the cash over to a taxi driver.
He said: “As soon as I got home I called 999 and got through to the real police.”
Dc Darren Little said the best way of stopping the fraudsters was to warn people of the ploy.
He said: “Primarily they are targeting elderly and vulnerable people more susceptive to the scam.”
And he added: “I suspect it is a scam being used by lots of different groups.”
Call Dc Little on 101 if you have any information.
- ABOUT 20 cases had been reported in the city in the last six months with about half of the victims handing thousands of pounds over.
- Pc Darren Little, of Oxford CID, said taxi firms had also been told to look out for suspicious bookings.
- Last month Cherwell police officers warned of the same fraud in the Oxford Mail after elderly victims were conned out of more than £58,000.
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