Islander nearly falls for 'convincing' phone scam
A St Mary's resident has warned others to be careful after she almost fell for a phone scam.
Barbara Simpson said she was “completely taken in” after receiving a call from a man claiming to be from the Barclays Serious Fraud Department.
The man, who had a Scottish accent, called her at around 10.30pm and said there had been some suspicious activity on her debit card. He then asked her to confirm three transactions made that day amounting to over £3,000.
Barbara told This is Scilly News: “I had not used my card and of course was very concerned. He then explained that they had blocked these transactions so I hadn't lost any money and were, together with the Police, currently investigating my local branch. He asked if he could phone me again the next morning to sort out what would happen next. I went to bed feeling very worried.”
The man rang again the following morning to tell Barbara that a safe account had been set up for her with the Royal Bank of Scotland and asking her to go to Barclays and transfer £5,000 to this safe account for approximately three weeks. She would be given a receipt which the Police would need.
Barbara explained: “He said people had lost thousands of pounds through the illicit dealings of a member of the bank staff and he didn't want me to suffer a similar fate. He stressed that, if asked, I should say that I was transferring the money to a family member.
“He gave me the RBS account number and said he would phone me again at 12 o'clock to confirm everything had gone smoothly. He was totally convincing and his Scottish accent was very reassuring.”
However, Barbara was saved from the scam when she suddenly had misgivings on the way to the bank. She went instead to see the Police to confirm that they did have the branch under surveillance.
“Of course they knew nothing about it and PCSO Shirley Graham offered to be at home with me when ‘Mr Anthony McAndrews’ called back, which was hugely comforting. He rang, I spoke to him for a few minutes, then handed the phone to Shirley, who identified herself as a member of the local Policing Team, at which point he abruptly ended the call.”
Barbara added: “I cannot stress enough how convincing this man was. I don't think I am a particularly gullible person, but I was completely taken in. I am just so grateful that something made me pause before I went into the bank and that I didn't give away £5,000. Apparently this is a huge, ongoing scam so please remember my story and don't fall for it.”
The Barclays scam is one of several recently reported by islanders.