Pensioner loses life savings in call she thought was from her bank

Fraud victim recalls how life savings were stolen

Linda Leary, 79, almost lost her life savings after falling victim to a missed delivery scam, which eventually led scammers being able to access her account and move her money elsewhere.

She received a message from a delivery courier saying she had missed a delivery and had to pay a £1.99 fee in order to arrange a redelivery.

At the time Ms Leary was expecting a parcel so she clicked the link and entered in her bank details on what she thought was a safe and secure site.

She immediately called her daughter after entering her details as she felt something was wrong and her daughter urged her to call the bank.‌

The bank explained this was a common scam and blocked her card before any money had been taken. They told her they would send her a new one.

However, the next day she received a call from someone claiming to be from Santander’s fraud team.

‌When she questioned the authenticity of the person on the call, the scammer reassured her that because the number they called from was the same as the one on the back of her bank card, they were legitimately from Santander.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning this week, Ms Leary explained her situation. She said she was very anxious at first because the person on the phone said someone was trying to access her account.

The man told her to transfer her money to a new account in another name to ensure scammers would not be able to access her funds.

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During their conversation, the man on the phone started asking her about an overdraft account which she thought was suspicious as her bank should know what types of accounts she holds with them.

‌Ms Leary quickly cut the phone and logged out of her bank account, however, it was too late.

Unfortunately, when she logged back in “everything had gone”. She said: “It was frightening. It was awful.”

Security expert Jenny Radcliffe warned this is a “layered con”.

When someone initially clicks on a text message link, it “opens the door” for other scams to take place.

Ms Radcliffe said: “It’s a spoofing technology, it’s not actually even illegal to do it unless it’s for nefarious purposes. It’s a hack.”

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She continued: “The big red flag is anything to do with money. Moving money, talking about money being lost, making it, sending it or moving it is a red flag. Don’t click any links before talking to the bank.”

Ms Radcliffe explained that if an individual is speaking to someone on the phone, and it’s money related, they should turn off their phone, turn it back on and call them back.

Real banks are also likely to give people a code to talk about their situation.

Fortunately, Santander was able to refund Linda all of her money back.

Santander said: “If in doubt whether a service, offer or message is genuine, hang up on someone and get in touch with us before taking any action.

“Your bank will never ask you to withdraw, transfer or send back money from your accounts to Santander.”

Episodes of This Morning are available on ITVx.

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