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Elderly woman gave £3,000 to phone con
AN elderly Malvern woman was conned out of nearly £3,000 by a man claiming to be from her phone company who said she needed to pay her bill in Ukash vouchers in return for prizes.
Now police are reminding people to be wary of calls from companies offering large prizes in exchange for such Ukash vouchers.
The 83-year-old was contacted last December by a man who asked her to pay £50 for her yearly landline bill.
PC Kathryn Curtis said: “The victim was asked to pay her bill using Ukash vouchers.
It was explained that she could go to any shop with a PayPoint, pay the £50 and then she would receive a Ukash voucher to that value.
“The victim was then requested to return the call and read out the voucher number. The man who called her was able to use the voucher number anywhere in the world. He continued to make phone calls over a twomonth period and told the victim she would receive prizes and a large amount of money in return. However, the woman handed over thousands of pounds and has never received anything back.”
Although Ukash is a genuine company, it – as well as other money transfer companies – is often used by conmen to obtain funds deceitfully.
Ukash says its vouchers should only be used at genuine merchants listed on their website and that people should never give Ukash details via email or telephone.
“Unfortunately, it is usually the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted in these types of scams,” said PC Curtis. “Often it is impossible to trace the conmen involved in these crimes as the offenders are from overseas.
“However, we have managed to trace the phone number to an address in the UK and the police force which covers that part of the country is now investigating.
“I have also been able to secure £300 from the West Mercia Police Community Fund to help this lady out.”
Anyone suspecting a scam by phone should contact their bank and trading standards.
Police can also be informed on 0300 333 3000.