Couple conned out of £75,000 in telephone scam

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A COUPLE who lost £75,000 in a devious telephone scam have told how it felt like “financial rape”.

Con artists fleeced the pair out of their life-savings in an elaborate fraud that has seen Edinburgh bank customers cheated out of £650,000 in recent months.

Victims are cold-called by scammers pretending to work for their banks and told there is fraudulent activity on their account so they must transfer funds to another account.

In a shocking new twist, it has been revealed the scammers tell victims that the bank is suspicious of its staff and asks them to go into the branch so officials can monitor the transaction on CCTV.

The latest victim, a 57-year-old woman who lives in Cammo Hill, was persuaded by thieves to transfer £19,000 over the phone before going into a branch and paying £56,000 into another account.

Her 66-year-old husband, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Evening News: “We are absolutely devastated.

“It was the best part of our savings and all of my wife’s inheritance from her late father,” he said.

“It was for our retirement.

“My wife said she felt it was like financial rape. It really knocks your confidence.

“She feels like somebody is watching her all the time.”

A woman purporting to work for the victim’s bank called and said there had been a payment for £904 for a TV from Argos from their account.

The victim, who has worked in the banking industry all her life, denied making the purchase and agreed to call the bank’s emergency number on the back of her debit card.

But the con artists had not cleared the line when she went to dial out and a second crook took over the call and persuaded her to pay the money into two separate accounts.

The husband said: “They knew her date of birth, address and mobile number so it really seemed like they knew what they were talking about.”

Later that day the victim’s husband began questioning the transaction and the couple telephoned the bank only to learn they had been conned.

He said: “We like to think we are quite sharp and worldly people. In the cold light of day it seems crazy and you think nobody in their right mind would do this.

“But she had the lingo and she was very plausible.”

The couple are not expecting to have their money returned despite having been with their bank for almost 50 years.

Last week, the News told how Fred Wood, 58, was one of 16 city residents to be conned out of cash by a telephone swindle.

The former factory worker lost his life savings worth £10,000 in a five-minute call.

Detective Inspector Arron Clinkscales said: “They are telling the victims that bank staff are complicit in these frauds so they should not tell them anything when they go in.

“Obviously that is not the case.”

Members of the public are warned to remain vigilant and never give out their account details as police and the bank will never ask for them.

DI Clinkscales said: “If you ever have any concerns in relation to the authenticity of a caller then do not provide them with any personal information.

“Hang up and phone the police immediately.”