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Stroud PCSOs prevent elderly woman falling victim to a Colombian scammer

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Two PCSOs from the Stroud Neighbourhood Policing team have prevented a 90 year-old Dursley woman from sending her savings to a Colombian scammer.

Last Thursday officers were called by staff at Dursley Post Office who reported that an elderly woman had tried on two occasions to send a large transaction to Colombia via Moneygram.  

The previous day the victim had attempted to transfer almost £2,000 to an unknown man there, but her payment was stopped by Moneygram.

She told Post Office staff that the man in Colombia had called her and said there was a problem with her computer. He told her he would fix it if she sent him the money.

Post Office staff advised her that they thought she was involved in a scam. 

Returning to the Post Office on Thursday, the elderly woman then attempted to transfer a smaller amount of £800 to the Colombian man. She told staff that he had phoned her again and assured her that he was not scamming her. 

Believing the elderly woman was the victim of fraud, Post Office staff refused to send the money and called the police.

Due to the victim’s age and vulnerability, PCSOs Mike Trebble and Trina Ellis paid her a visit at her home to provide some reassurance and advice.

They found the elderly woman very distressed and shaken up due to the continued harassment from the Colombian man who had phoned her multiple times attempting to obtain money through different means.

While the PCSOs were with the victim, the scammer phoned again and the call was intercepted by PCSO Trebble. The Colombian man was informed he was talking to the police and told not to make contact with the victim ever again.

Computer Software Service Fraud is very common and police are urging people to warn their elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours about this type of fraud.

It might be a scam if:

  • It seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that’s much cheaper than you’d expect
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
  • You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
  • You have been asked to transfer money quickly
  • You have been asked to pay in an unusual way – for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
  • You have been asked to give away personal information like passwords, PINs or credit/debit card details
  • You have not had written confirmation of what has been agreed

Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.

For further advice on keeping yourself safe from fraud, visit the Constabulary’s website: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/

Fraud cases can be reported to Action Fraud online: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime. Anyone who finds themselves in immediate danger should call 999 as per any emergency. 

Victims of fraud looking for help can find more information on Victim Support’s website: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/fraud/

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