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Elderly lady tricked out of £10,000 in fake prize draw scam

14:53 12 January 2017

Some of the items recovered from the victim's home

Some of the items recovered from the victim's home

Archant

Trading standards have warned residents to be on their guard against scammers

A Bromley resident has been tricked out of £10,000 in fake prize draws set up by scammers.

The victim, an elderly lady, purchased a vast amount of goods in the hope of receiving large cash prizes, leaving her struggling to pay her rent.

The scam came to light when Iris (not her real name) contacted a distant relative and told him she only had about £200 left in her bank account.

On looking into the matter further, the relative became very concerned and contacted the council’s social care team, who alerted trading standards.

Trading standards officers visited the house and found the lounge, bedroom and hallway were overrun with scam mail and goods, including 26 tins of biscuits, care products, blankets, scarves, clocks, soft toys, handbags and ornaments.

Bank statements revealed Iris had also been donating to up ten different charities each month, with one month’s donations totalling in excess of £400 - including six separate direct debits to the same charity.

This amount represented a considerable proportion of her monthly income, leaving little money for food, heating and other essential expenditure.

Councillor Kate Lymer, executive councillor for public protection and safety, said: “This is a tragic story, and I am mostly concerned at the amount of payments Iris was making each month to charities.

“I am pleased this has stopped but we now need to challenge those organisations as to why they targeted a vulnerable older woman.

“Officers from Trading Standards and Adult Social Services will now concentrate on supporting Iris, in an effort to prevent her from becoming a victim again. They will approach local organisations who may be able to provide some ongoing support, such as Age UK and local voluntary groups.

“We will not be releasing further details at this time but we do want to use this example to highlight the dangers and to encourage us all to talk about this with those people who are known personally to us who may be targeted in this way.”

It is estimated that 3.2 million people fall victim to scams each year, losing £3.5 billion to criminals.

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