Retired police officer, 91, loses life savings of £15,000 in ‘so convincing’ telephone scam when ‘bank manager’ asked him to transfer his cash into a new more secure account
- John Thompson had software on his landline to block out would-be fraudsters
- 91-year-old was tricked into transferring his life savings into another account
- He had held his money in the same bank account for more than 50 years
John Thompson lost his life savings after being tricked into transferring three payments of £4,900 out of the account he had held for more than 50 years
A great-grandfather who held his money in the same account for more than 50 years has been scammed out of his life savings.
Former firefighter and police officer John Thompson lost almost £15,000 after transferring three payments of £4,900 out of his bank account.
The 91-year-old had software on his landline to block out fraudsters, but was still thwarted by callers pretending to be his local bank in Doncaster.
Now Mr Thompson, who was an assistant inspector with Kenya Police in the 1950s, says he has been left feeling ‘foolish’ and now wants to help prevent others from being targeted by the same fraudsters.
He said: ‘I do feel rather foolish to think I did this and it was a scam – but they were so convincing.
‘I’m not a young man any more – I turned 91 last week. If speaking out helps one other person from falling for the same thing then I’ll be pleased I’ve done it.’
Mr Thompson was targeted on a Friday evening back in May, when he was called by a main claiming to be from the security department of his bank.
Despite using software to screen out unwanted phone calls, the scammers were able to round the technology to make it look like they were calling from his local bank.
Former fire and police officer Mr Thompson (right in his fire uniform) says he feels ‘foolish’ for being scammed (pictured right at home in Doncaster)
Being wary of scammers, Mr Thompson said he had put the phone down the first time they had called, but when they called again 20 minutes later and said he was the bank manager in Doncaster, Mr Thompson stayed on the line.
During the call the man told Mr Thompson that there had been a security breach on his account and that he needed to transfer the funds into a safer one.
How to spot fraud before it’s too late
The Take Five campaign has provided some tips and advice to help spot fraudulent messages.
- A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account.
- Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
- Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
- If you’re approached with a request for personal information, do not provide it. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Even though Mr Thompson hadn’t given the man any information, he was able to recite recent bank transactions as well as Mr Thompson’s account balance, and even his late mother’s maiden name.
Mr Thompson then went on to transfer a total of £14,700 and afterwards said he thought it could have been a scam.
He added: ‘I called in to my local branch the following day and sure enough, they informed me it was a scam.’
Despite being a victim of a scam, Mr Thompson has been unable to reclaim his money.
This is due to the fact that he moved the money himself rather than it being stolen out of his account, this is known an ‘authorised push payment’.
Both Action Fraud and South Yorkshire Police have been assisting Mr Thompson since the incident.
South Yorkshire Police’s Fraud Protect Officer Andy Foster said that unfortunately, Mr Thompson’s situation was all too familiar and that there had been countless amount of similar victims.
Mr Foster added: ‘These fraudsters are professionals, using increasingly sophisticated methods to trick people out of their hard-earned money and life savings.
‘The fact they are now able to make it look like they are calling from a local number, or the number of your bank, makes their devious schemes even more convincing.
‘A legitimate bank would never contact you to ask you to transfer your money into another account. If you are in doubt, hang up the phone, leave it for a few minutes and then call your bank for advice.’
MailOnline has approached Mr Thompson’s bank for comment.