A CARING taxi driver stopped an elderly man from falling victim to a £20,000 lottery scam.
Police are warning people to be vigilant after an 80-year-old Sheffield man was contacted by someone telling him he had won £20,000 on the lottery. He provided his name and address and received a cheque for £5,000.
The man was instructed to pay the £5,000 into his bank account but was contacted a few days later by the same caller who said they’d paid him the wrong amount.
The gentleman was advised to withdraw the money from his account as cash and pay it into a Western Union account. He was assured a cheque for £20,000 would follow.
The man was on his way to take the cash out of his account when he spoke to his taxi driver about the lottery win.
The taxi driver raised concerns and went into the bank with the 80-year-old man. He also approached two police officers in Sheffield City Centre who reported the scam to Action Fraud and contacted the victim’s family.
PC Dale Garner said: “Had it not been for the actions of the concerned taxi driver, we would not have been aware of this situation.
“His actions meant that we could prevent the scam being carried out and the victim losing £5,000.
“The people behind this scam are preying on elderly people and taking advantage of their trust.”
Now, officers are warning elderly and vulnerable people as well as their relatives to be aware of anyone contacting them to say that they have won money.
“The scam is based on the fact that once a cheque is taken to a bank and shown as credited to the holder’s account, there is a brief period where it can be withdrawn in cash before the cheque is discovered to be false, and subsequently bounces, “said PC Garner.
“At this point the bank would request the money back from the victim, who would have paid cash to Western Union to the perpetrator, which is untraceable, and the scam complete.
“The perpetrator in this case was contacting the victim on a daily basis giving him step by step instructions of what to do, addresses for the Western Union, down to getting a receipt from Western Union.
“The only thing that the victim knows about the perpetrator is that an 0808 false phone number was given to them.”
Officers are giving the following advice:
1.Always ask for full details from the caller and the company they are calling from. If you are not sure about the caller, speak to a relative, Citizens Advice or the police.
2.Never give out personal details to an unknown caller including your address, bank details or other contact details.
3.If you have a vulnerable relative, set up a call blocking system on their phone which prevents withheld numbers from getting through.
4.Keep an eye on any elderly relative’s finances where possible.
5.Action Fraud has its own website full of advice and information www.actionfraud.org.uk. You can also report fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.