Mull on alert af­ter scam

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­fiths@oban­

Scam­mers have duped thou­sands of pounds out of peo­ple on Mull in a spate of fake bank calls.

The Oban Times un­der­stands more than 10 peo­ple in Tober­mory have lost money to the ‘con­vinc­ing’ scam and oth­ers liv­ing in Der­vaig also re­ceived calls from peo­ple pre­tend­ing to be from the Cly­des­dale Bank’s own fraud squad.

A friend of a woman on Mull tricked out of £2,500 con­tacted The Oban Times to warn oth­ers to be vig­i­lant.

She said the woman felt ‘vi­o­lated’.

Nei­ther of the women would be named but wanted to stop the same thing hap­pen­ing to oth­ers.

The friend said: ‘She is just be­side her­self. She burst into tears when she told me. She said they have taken ev­ery­thing, she has noth­ing left. All her sav­ings have gone. She feels vi­o­lated.

‘My friend is one of the nicest peo­ple you would want to meet. She would do any­thing for any­one. She’s heart­bro­ken over all of this.

‘The phone call said they were from the bank’s own fraud squad. They even gave her a Cly­des­dale bank num­ber to ring them back on. It was only when she went to the bank the next day she dis­cov­ered money had gone from her ac­count. She had worked hard all sum­mer to save that. She doesn’t know who she can trust any­more. She won’t talk to any­one on the phone now be­cause she can’t see a face.’

Ac­cord­ing to the friend, she knew of 12 peo­ple af­fected in Tober­mory and said there

were oth­ers in Der­vaig. ‘Peo­ple feel so em­bar­rassed they’ve been taken in by it,’ she added.

When The Oban Times asked Sergeant Chris Ed­wards, the new com­mu­nity polic­ing sergeant for Oban, Lorn and the Isles, about the num­bers of peo­ple caught up in the scams, he said en­quires were on-go­ing.

Cly­des­dale Bank also said it was tak­ing the fraud ‘ex­tremely se­ri­ously’ and was mon­i­tor­ing for any other in­stance of ‘un­usual ac­tiv­ity’.

Spoof­ing a phone num­ber can be done with apps and soft­ware, mak­ing it easy for crim­i­nals to im­per­son­ate a bank’s phone num­ber.

Cly­des­dale Bank said it reg­u­larly com­mu­ni­cates with cus­tomers on how to pro­tect them­selves from fi­nan­cial fraud and wanted to re­it­er­ate that it would never call a cus­tomer and ask them to di­vulge per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Sgt Ed­wards said: ‘We’re aware of re­cent tele­phone scams on the isle of Mull and Tober­mory area. En­quiries are on-go­ing for these in­ci­dents.

‘If any­one does re­ceive a phone call ask­ing for these de­tails or telling you about sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity on your ac­count, go into your lo­cal branch or phone your bank us­ing a dif­fer­ent tele­phone.

‘Al­ter­na­tively, wait un­til you have heard a di­alling tone be­fore phon­ing your bank – some fraud­u­lent callers keep the line open and you could end up call­ing them back.’

The Oban Times pre­vi­ously re­ported sev­eral thou­sands of pounds was taken from the ac­count of an­other Mull woman duped into dis­clos­ing her in­ter­net bank­ing de­tails.

Last week po­lice re­ported it had hap­pened again af­ter a dif­fer­ent woman re­vealed pass­words and was also scammed out of a large sum of money.

In a sep­a­rate scam in Au­gust, an el­derly Oban woman was conned out of hun­dreds of pounds by a man trick­ing her into be­liev­ing she was in an on­line re­la­tion­ship with him.

He said he needed her to buy him iTunes gift card vouch­ers and send him the codes from the cards.

An­other scam to watch pre­tends to be from HMRC say­ing there is a tax bill that needs ur­gent pay­ment and can be done so with gift vouch­ers.

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