Bank staff save elderly customer from losing £520 in coronavirus scam
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An elderly resident almost lost £520 after being promised £5,000 in credit by cold-callers pretending to be from an electricity company.
Scammers claiming to be calling from ‘Southern Electric’ targeted the elderly resident in north Norfolk, asking for £520 to “help people though the coronavirus outbreak”.
The caller said they would visit the resident’s home at midday and in return for the £520, they would receive £5,000 in credit on their electricity bill.
When the resident visited the bank to withdraw the money, staff stopped them from withdrawing money and contacted the police.
Norfolk police are now urging people to be vigilant and take precautions when dealing with cold-callers.
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Chief inspector Craig Miller said: “It’s great that communities across Norfolk are coming together to help one another during these unprecedented times. However, we sadly know from previous experience that criminals will take advantage of any opportunity for their own means and this situation is no different.
“Scams are likely to come in many different forms, from those pretending to be police officers or working for healthcare organisations calling on people to say they are testing for the virus to those fraudulently sell face masks, or offer to do shopping and taking money.
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“We would urge residents, particularly those who are vulnerable, to only deal with people they trust and that if anyone has any doubts about those who are approaching them, and are concerned, we advise that they don’t engage and report suspicious behaviour to police.
“The majority of groups are well-intentioned and will be working through charities, or through a local authority and should have proof that they are doing so.”
Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “It’s shameful that unscrupulous fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the pandemic to make money. Particularly when so many people are volunteering to help support and protect their friends and neighbours.”
To sign up for scam alerts, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/tsalerts