Local women foil telephone scammers

In the last 24 hours two elderly Inverclyde women have seen off scammers who tried to convince them to reveal their bank details.

In both cases, the scammers falsely claimed that a substantial amount of cash had been taken from the women’s accounts and transferred abroad.

One of the women, who asked not to be named, said, “I’d just had my lunch when the phone rang. A young lady introduced herself and said she was in banking or something like that. She said it so quickly I didn’t catch exactly what it was she said. But she didn’t mention which bank it was that she worked for.

“She told me that she had information that £600 had been removed from my bank account and sent abroad. She said I should press 1 on my phone.

“I hung up straight away when she said that.

“One of the council’s Trading Standards officers, gave a talk to our over 50s club before we all had to go into lockdown, so I knew it was a scam.

“I panicked a little bit after that because I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things. It was only afterwards that I thought to do a 1471 to get the young lady’s number. I gave it to the Fraud Squad and they’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”

Councillor Michael McCormick, Convener of Inverclyde Council’s Environment & Regeneration Service, said, “Catherine (name changed) did exactly the right thing. She just put the phone down and didn’t press anything.

“Sometimes banks will contact customers by phone or text if they spot a suspicious transaction. In these circumstances the best thing to do is say that you will call them back. If the caller tries to tell you the number to ring don’t use it. Always find the right number for your bank from a trusted source. Your own bank cards are best. They all have a number for the customer services team on the back.

“Catherine was quick witted in doing a 1471 to find out the caller’s phone number. Unfortunately, there is a lot of technology scammers can use to make it like they are calling from a local number when they are on the other side of the world.

“Scammers are very intelligent. Scams are becoming more plausible and often involve more realistic amounts of money. A person is much more likely to believe they are due a £300 council tax refund rather than the classic £10million bank transfer from an unknown, but very generous, Nigerian prince! Even so this scam still rakes in an estimated £500,000 a year.

“Keep yourself safe and always remember the three tests for spotting a scam:

1.      Are you being contacted out-of-the-blue?

2.      Is there a very tight deadline or some other sort of time pressure?

3.      Is there some sort of threat or reward involved? Scammers usually try to frighten their victims or appeal to their desire for a good deal.”