Edinburgh widow lost life savings of £49k to ‘vishing scam’

A widow in her 90s was tricked into giving away her life savings. Picture: John Devlin
A widow in her 90s was tricked into giving away her life savings. Picture: John Devlin
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HEARTLESS fraudsters have tricked an elderly widow into handing over her £49,000 life-savings in a “vishing” scam.

The 90-year-old, from Craigleith, is the second resident from that part of the city to fall victim to the sophisticated con this month.

The devastated pensioner answered a call on Sunday evening from the crooks, who convinced her that they worked for her bank’s fraud department, and warned that £900 had been taken from her account.

She took a second call the next day and was asked to transfer her money into a different account for safe-keeping.

The women then visited the Royal Bank of Scotland branch at Davidsons Mains, where she transferred £49,000.

Speaking to the Evening News today, the pensioner, who asked not to be named, said she had no reason to believe the call wasn’t genuine. She said: “I’ve read articles about scams like these in the past, and thought to myself, ‘oh what silly fools’, but when it happens to you it’s different. They are so convincing. They had all my details, I didn’t give them anything. That’s why I genuinely thought it was the bank – it all seemed very legit.

“I just feel absolutely shattered now, I was just being a good citizen.”

Before transferring the money, she received another phone call from the con artists while she was in the bank, asking what she was wearing.

The pensioner added: “I thought that it was the bank watching me on CCTV so they knew who I was. I thought that was why the person at the counter didn’t ask for any more than identification. Perhaps if they had asked more questions about the sum of money being transferred, I might have realised.”

Earlier this month, a woman in her 60s from nearby Ravelston was tricked out of more than £50,000 in similar circumstances.

A spokeswoman for the RBS said: “Regrettably our customer has been a victim of a vishing scam. Fraudsters use very sophisticated methods to encourage us to part with our money. We will be closely supporting our customer following this incident and working to raise awareness of scams in the area.”

Detective Inspector Arron Clinkscales said: “These fraudsters are extremely convincing – they use apps which make the call appear to be from a bank or even police. They ask that you transfer money or take it out of your account. No bank or police officer would ever make a phone call to request this.

“If you receive such a call, take details and hang up – then call your bank, using a number from the phone book or official documents you hold.”

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