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by Danielle Thompson (September 2021)

QUICK-ACTING police officers stepped in to stop a pensioner being fleeced out of his life savings.

A vulnerable 80-year-old Southport pensioner received a letter in the post, claiming to be from his bank, stating that he was the victim of an online fraud and asking him to contact a telephone number provided.

The man called the number and was instructed to withdraw £3,000 to rectify the problem.

He was also instructed to deliver the money by special delivery to an address in the West Midlands area. The victim complied with the instructions and sent the money by special delivery.

Fortunately his family became aware of this and contacted Merseyside Police. Due to the fast actions of the attending police officers they managed to inform Royal Mail and the money was intercepted and returned to the pensioner.

Merseyside Police’s economic crime team and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit obtained a search warrant and a 26 year-old man from the West Bromwich area was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

Further cash was found on the premises and further potential victims have been identified.

The man has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Holly Chance said: “Defrauding anyone is a heinous and despicable crime – but to target older more vulnerable people is particularly upsetting and absolutely shattering for victims and their families.

“In some cases victims have worked hard their entire lives, with a view to enjoying their retirement or passing their savings on to family, only to be preyed upon and see their savings taken.

“Their good and trusting nature can be ruthlessly exploited by criminals, and we are determined to prevent as many incidents as possible.

“We regularly visit the victims of fraud at home to provide additional support and advice to help prevent further offences.

“If you have, or are being subjected to fraud, or feel like you, or someone you care for, is being scammed, please get in touch.”

If someone believes they have fallen victim to any kind of fraud then they can contact Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling police on 101 @MerPolCC or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

Advice to stop people falling victim to fraudsters:

l Be wary of unexpected callers, either at the door or on the phone in case it’s a scam

l Never let callers into your home without checking their ID

l Don’t immediately agree to any offer or work without first seeking advice

l Don’t share your personal or financial details with someone that calls out of the blue

The Champion shares our Scam Alert column by Citizens Advice Sefton advisor  John Trotter – offering advice on the latest scams and how to avoid becoming a victim – online at champnews.com and on our Facebook page, ‘Champion Newspapers’ on Wednesdays.

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