AN ELDERLY victim of a telephone scam, who lost £1,700 to conmen, is warning other people to be on their guard.
Widow Judy Farr, 70, of Victoria Gardens in Trow-bridge, was taken in by the conmen who claimed she was entitled to compensation after buying a supposedly faulty electrical product.
After persuading her to buy vouchers to pay “solicitors’ fees”, the conmen redeemed them in India, leaving her almost £1,750 out of pocket before she realised she was being tricked.
Mrs Farr, who used to run a printing business with her husband, said: “A year ago, I bought an electrical power saver device, which I bought with my debit card over the phone.
“About six weeks ago, I received a phone call from someone who said they were from City Claims Manage-ment Company, to say that the item I was sold was faulty and I was to receive compensation.
“To get this compensation, I had to purchase UKASH vouchers. And I said, ‘Well what’s it for?’ and they said, ‘Solicitor’s fees’.
“They were quite convincing. Every time I called, they gave me a security number to quote and I thought it was above board.
“I purchased these vouchers and he rang to find out the numbers and, a few days later, I decided this wasn’t right and I refused to buy any more.
“He phoned again, to say a cheque would be delivered to my home, but it didn’t arrive, so I decided it was a scam and contacted police.”
Once she realised she had been deceived, said Mrs Farr, she was furious.
“I was angry. They’re scum, aren’t they? I’d feel sorry if it happened to someone else. It’s awful for pensioners.
“They need to be stopped, but India is such a big country. Fortunately, I’ve had the support of my family. I’ve got a very nice niece and my brother was there, too, to help me through it.”
PC Gemma Rutter, of Trowbridge Police said: “Unfortunately, scams like this one seem to always target the elderly and most vulnerable in our community.
“Therefore, it is paramount that we are all looking out for others in our neighbourhood, who may be at risk from such scams.
“Most scams seem too good to be true, as they are, and many seem very professional and realistic.
“Anyone who thinks they may have also been targeted in this way should contact Wiltshire Police or Crime-stoppers, where all information can be left anony- mously.”
Anyone wishing to report a scam can contact Wiltshire Police on the non-emergency 101 number, or the Crime-stoppers on 0800 555 111.