Police hunt down ‘despicable’ scammers who stole £21k from elderly man

PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 April 2017

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch It's Okay To Say No campaign.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch It's Okay To Say No campaign.

Archant

Tens of thousands of pounds have been stolen from ‘vulnerable’ North Somerset people by ‘sophisticated’ and ‘creative’ fraudsters through online scams and emails.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.

An elderly man from Congresbury is among the victims, racking up more than £20,000 worth of debt when he thought he was donating money to people in Africa.

Eighty-two-year-old Arthur believed he had been sending money to help the less fortunate for the past two years.

But it has recently come to light he had fallen victim to fraud and is now £21,000 in debt.

When the truth came to light, Arthur refused to believe he had been conned and kept his transactions a secret from his friends and family.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.

When his daughter Gilly found out she said the criminal’s actions were ‘disgusting’ and ‘despicable’.

She added: “The frustrating thing is, it takes so long to investigate. I understand it is a really difficult kind of crime to unpick.

“It is such a worry. I do not want dad to be on his own now. He has been targeted before by scammers and conmen.”

As well as his financial loss, Arthur’s self-confidence has also been knocked and Gilly expressed her concern for others out there.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.

She said: “For some people it is because they are confused or suffering with ill health or dementia.

“For others it is just that they have not got the experience and understanding of the online world.”

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has warned people to be vigilant as almost 100 people were tricked into giving up their bank details by fraudsters in North Somerset.

The It’s Okay To Say No campaign aims to combat fraudsters, remind people not to give out personal details and raise awareness about spotting the signs of a scam.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.Avon and Somerset Constabulary launch the Its Okay To Say No campaign.

Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie, district commander for Somerset, said: “These criminals purposefully target the elderly and vulnerable.

“The impact of their crimes is not just financial loss, for many it can have a detrimental effect emotionally, mentally and in some cases physically.

“These criminals are sophisticated and creative with their lies. But there are ways we can work together to stop it from happening in the first place.”


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