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I've just witnessed a scam and can't believe it!

(63 Posts)
Solitaire Thu 09-Feb-17 15:21:35

In front of me in the Post Office an elderly gent asking to pay £1000 to China. He was only allowed to pay £300 said the cashier. His phone rang on loudspeaker and I heard every word. A very irate person asking if he'd paid the money yet. he explained that he was only allowed to pay £300. "Well pay that now and 300 tomorrow and the next days" (an african sounding accent?)
I intervened and asked the man did he know the person he was paying and he became irate, said it was a friend, further questioning, then a business partner, then TalkTalk who had apparently paid £1000 in to his account and he had to pay it back today. His mobile rang 4 times with the same person checking what he was doing.
I and the post office staff and a young woman who works in a bank all tried to reason with him and explain it was a scam but he just got very angry.
The staff agreed they should ring the police and the man left saying he would go to the bank.
I can't believe people are still falling for these scams. I'm so angry on their behalf! angry

NfkDumpling Thu 09-Feb-17 15:30:25

Hopefully he thought about it once outside and realised he was making a fool of himself and a big mistake and came to his senses.

Greenfinch Thu 09-Feb-17 15:35:48

That is so awful.Unfortunately some of the nicest people can be the most gullible.

Ankers Thu 09-Feb-17 15:44:47

I hate it when you cant rescue a person from themselves.

But there again, they dont want "rescuing".

So not your problem.

Luckygirl Thu 09-Feb-17 15:45:45

Well done for intervening - that is dreadful.

Rigby46 Thu 09-Feb-17 15:58:30

I think it was lovely that you intervened ( with others) and tried to help. Nfk might be right when she says he may have had second thoughts once he got outside, lets hope so. Money box often does an item on a variety of these scams- apparently it's common now for them to first send you some money and you see it in your account but then they have some way of taking it out again whilst you are 'paying it back'. Some of the examples on Money box were frighteningly sophisticated and I could see how someone, especially on their own and vulnerable, could be taken in. It's very very cruel

annodomini Thu 09-Feb-17 15:58:41

He would have been very embarrassed at the idea that he had been scammed which would have added to his anger and possibly hardened his attitude. I hope the bank - if he went there - would also dissuade him from this course of action.

cornergran Thu 09-Feb-17 16:20:15

He may also have been frightened. Maybe some threats were made. You tried to help. Hopefully the police would contact him as the post office staff would have known his name. Sad and worrying.

Cherrytree59 Thu 09-Feb-17 16:37:23

I was just about to say the same as annodomini
Fingers crossed that the bank are on the ball as post office and yourself solitaire
angry &sad

Solitaire Thu 09-Feb-17 16:54:09

I'm still thinking about it and yes he was probably embarrassed. The staff at the post office had his name and address and were contacting police. I rang my son to tell him and he said "mum, stop worrying about him, you can't save some people from themselves" and of course he's right. Despicable though these scammers.
I can't work out how the man could have £1000 in his account, presuming he had actually checked that, and yes cornergran I could hear how threatening they sounded on the phone. The P O staff couldn't hear the phone calls behind their glass screen.

Witzend Thu 09-Feb-17 16:58:57

Trouble is, the scamsters can get such a hold over people, and unless the person has been shown to lack capacity, there's really nothing you can do, since the law takes the view that people are free to throw their money away if they wish.

I found out a while ago that an elderly neighbour had fallen for a so called 'lottery' scam, I.e. someone phoned her (pretending to be from NatWest as I later found out) and told her she'd won a million pounds (on a lottery she had never entered for) only of course she had to make a payment for 'tax' first..

By the time I found out, she had made umpteen of these payments, at least £4K a time, to people abroad.
Dh and I told her very bluntly that it was a scam, they were just criminals, but she wouldn't have it, she believed them utterly. They tell their victims not to tell friends or relatives, since 'they'll just be jealous and try to prevent you from getting your prize.' She would not go to the police, or let us do so, and if she wouldn't even talk to them, let alone make a complaint, there was no point in us contacting them.

In the end her children put a block on her phone and had her mail redirected. By then her dd told me she thought about £100k had gone down the drain.

Previously I knew she had been addicted to those Wordsearch 'competitions', where you very conveniently phone in all your details at God knows how much per minute. Lists of likely victims who do this sort of competition are sold on in 'suckers' lists' - they do actually call them that.

There is a website called Think Jessica, all about various scams largely targeted specifically at the vulnerable/naive elderly, It makes very scary reading, but anyone with such potentially at-risk relatives should read it.

Rinouchka Thu 09-Feb-17 17:06:46

Well done for intervening, Solitaire! I do hope the man was saved from his own gullibility. Perhaps the PO staff will have an update the next time you go in. It would be good to know the end result.

TriciaF Thu 09-Feb-17 18:02:01

A similar thing happened to my friend and her husband. They were looking for a van on an internet website, and were going to buy one unseen. Paying by money order from the Post Office.
I told them not to do it without seeing the van, but they went to the PO with the cash.
Luckily the clerk there warned them off (Western Union.)
I still don't understand how people can be so gullible. My friends are living on minimum income to survive.

Witzend Thu 09-Feb-17 18:14:31

My neighbour was paying her scamsters via Western Union, too.

rosesarered Thu 09-Feb-17 18:22:42

Well done for intervening Solitaire you did your best to prevent him losing his money.
If only more people were willing to intervene instead of holding back and being embarrassed.I chased after and held an escaping toddler outside the supermarket a few years ago, people looked at him but didn't stop him.Took him back inside just as a
Relieved Grandma came flying out to look for him! We should all intervene at times.

Rigby46 Thu 09-Feb-17 18:39:08

roses excellent post

pensionpat Thu 09-Feb-17 22:21:44

I had £6000 transferred from my account once. The bank rang to confirm the transaction, but not in time to stop the transfer. They treated it as fraud, so I did not lose out. Another customer had the same kind of transfer. Interestingly, both transfers were to Western Union.

Elegran Thu 09-Feb-17 23:08:16

I would never ever use Western Union to transfer money unless it was to someone I knew well. It can't be traced back or refunded. So, why is Western Union unsafe for online transactions?

Jalima Thu 09-Feb-17 23:13:33

Well done Solitaire you tried.

Unfortunately, some scammers pretending to be the police have even told people that the bank staff are scammers and stealing money from accounts and that they must on no account tell anyone in the bank why they are withdrawing the money.

Witzend Fri 10-Feb-17 08:51:40

Jalima, one these evil b*stards have talked to their victims and realised how naive/vulnerable they are - my neighbour certainly fell into this category - I think they realise that they can tell them anything and they'll be believed.

Mind you it's not just the naive elderly who can be caught. Friend of mine was phoned at work by someone who sounded so terribly nice and reassuring, to tell her that her purse had been stolen (it had, from an office to which the public had access) but not to worry, they were on to the thieves, who were about to use her card to get some money out of a cash machine. But she could just give them a few details...

She was so panicked at finding her purse gone, and the person sounded so nice and kind, she gave them what they needed to know.

And realised the moment she'd hung up how daft she'd been, but it was too late.

Witzend Fri 10-Feb-17 08:52:40

Should add, this was quite a few years ago, before such scams became so common and there was a lot less general awareness.

Kim19 Fri 10-Feb-17 10:12:01

VERY well done Solitaire for having the courage to intervene. That is such a difficult decision and one never knows the immediate outcome of such an act. Seems yours may have a positive result. Certainly hope so......Again.....Bravo you

radicalnan Fri 10-Feb-17 10:14:20

Oh dear, the problem is people want the scams to be real. They inevitably involve promises of riches or hard luck stories and people can't help themselves. Well done for trying.

I hope he was not acting under any duress................

Lewlew Fri 10-Feb-17 10:28:23

Frightened and embarrassed definitely! The BBC News needs to have more reminders about this during news programmes. Reinforcement is essential.

I used to work at a print shop that did shipping. And we'd get people who wanted to send off those scam contests' 'fees' to Australia and Canada by courier to ensure it got there.

My boss was very adamant, but gentle, in explaining to them that by looking at the address, he was familiar with these outfits and that they were scams. One woman broke down in tears as she thought it was the answer to all her problems as she thought she would get her hundred thousand payout. sad

MaggieMay69 Fri 10-Feb-17 10:29:51

My son in law is 59, he is divorced from my daughter, and he has fallen prey to the internet scams that are going about. A stunning looking lady messaged him saying she had seen him and was in love with him. I seriously couldn;t believe alarm bells hadn't already gone off, however, he has been lonely (he still gets along with my daughter, and as they have my grandchildren together we are all still close) and I know he was desperate to believe that a young woman of abour 30 would be interested in him.
My great grandson and grandaughter went to great lengths to show him that it was a scam, and he basically cut them off. He showed us a picture of her in Nigeria (another sign!) showing her with a picture of him, to which my grandson said it was faked.
My son in law then went absolutely livid, was completely vulgar to my poor grandaughter, and has since been found out to be paying this woman nearly £3000 as she apparently lives with her old Aunt and she wants to help her Aunt so she can some and be with him in the UK.
She has also apparently showed him her bank account, showing how she can pay him back thousands to thank makes no sense, I don;t even think it does to him anymore, he has been getting blind drunk and refuses any help, probably embarrassed, and desperate to recapture the youth where he could have any woman he wanted.
I feel worse for my grandchildren, my daughter has tried to reason with him too, however, he tells her she is merely jealous and wants to get back with him. she really doesn;t, but he has been a paramedic all of his life, and is steadily losing everthing he ever built for the family.
Its sad, but this might take him actually destroying himself, as the police will do nothing, he still works, runs his own business, isn;t rich by any means, but he has enough to look after himself.
I feel terrible but think this is one lesson he is going to have to learn the really hard way.
I do so hope the man you saw has help.