Pensioner victim of phone scam

Ripon police are warning residents to be on their guard against a phone scam which cost an elderly man hundreds of pounds.

PC Wayne Hutchinson of Ripon Police said a conman contacted a local man in his 70s by phone, in the week running up to Christmas, claiming he was due £3,800 after being mis-sold an endowment.

The conman promised the victim he would claim the money back on his behalf if he paid an administration fee of £750.

The pensioner was advised to buy a UKASH voucher for £750 and the man would be back in touch for the voucher number. Once he had established the funds had been paid into UKASH via the voucher, the £3,800 would be released.

Unfortunately, PC Hutchinson said, the victim followed the conman’s instructions before realising it was a scam and contacting the police.

“In effect, the victim’s money was lost as soon as he handed over the voucher number,” he said.

UKASH is a genuine service that operates as an internet money transfer scheme, and works using a voucher number which is needed to claim the money.

Police enquiries have established the victim’s money was used on a betting firm’s website.

“We want people to be wary of callers or companies offering to claim back payments for a fee.,” said PC Hutichinson.

“If anyone believes they are due to be refunded money, then they should contact their own bank or an established law firm.

“If anyone is using the UKASH voucher scheme, then they should only give the voucher number to people they trust and who they want the money to go to. They should treat the vouchers as they would cash.

“Please pass this warning on to any elderly or vulnerable friends, neighbours and relatives, so they don’t fall foul of these scams.

“If you have any doubts to the validity of anyone’s identity please call North Yorkshire Police and an officer will be more than willing to give advice on the issue.”

If you are contacted by anyone you believe could be fraudulent contact North Yorkshire Police as soon as possible on 101.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.