Police alert after phone-scam pest targeted woman
Fraudsters phoned a pensioner dozens of times pressuring her to buy a voucher in exchange for a £2,000 cheque they claimed she had won.
A persistent woman phoned 69-year-old Jessie Dunkley on her landline and said she knew her bank details, address and even called her on her mobile phone number when she refused to buy the £100 voucher.
Even a stern warning from a police officer, who later answered Mrs Dunkley's phone, did not deter the scam caller, and the pensioner has now changed her phone number.
"I felt very unnerved, with her saying she knew my address and mobile number and bank," said Mrs Dunkley, of Western Park, Leicester.
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"People have said it could have been a plan for a burglary, and they wanted me to go out to get this voucher and they would target the house.
"It left me feeling nervous about going out. I had to have people come back into the house with me when I was getting home and checking the house."
The calls started last Friday lunchtime with the caller trying to offer Mrs Dunkley help claim back PPI – which she declined.
"She then phoned back immediately and I picked it up and said again that I was not interested.
"I went back to the bedroom and she rang again. She said 'why do you keep putting the phone down on me when I have good news for you.'
"She said she had a cheque that needs to be delivered between 2pm and 3pm today."
To claim the cheque, she told Mrs Dunkley she needed a £100 U-Kash voucher she could buy from a filling station or a newsagents nearby.
"I put the phone down but I rang my friend who is on Neighbourhood Watch, because this woman would just not give up," Mrs Dunkley.
"She said she had my bank details – she knew what bank I was with and the first four digits on the card."
Mrs Dunkley was even more unnerved when the woman rang her mobile phone.
Brenda Caver, Mrs Dunkley's friend and a member of the Letchworth area Neighbourhood Watch, began taking the calls from the woman.
She said: "They just kept coming so we called the police. They arrived and tried to phone the number the woman had left for herself – she didn't answer. But then she rang the house phone – again – and the policeman answered it."
Mrs Dunkley said: "He told her in no uncertain terms to stop ringing me. But even when he put the phone down and was scribbling in his notepad, she rang again."
Mrs Dunkley warned others not to be taken in by the scam.
"My worry was I had the sense not to give her information, but someone more vulnerable might have given her more details or fallen for the voucher trick," she added.
Leicester City Council Trading Standards team said they had not received any reports of this particular scam.
Trading standards manager Ron Ruddock said: "You should never pay money to collect a prize. Consumers should ask themselves whether they actually entered a competition. In most cases they have not.
"Many scams now ask people to buy money vouchers to make payment.
"These vouchers, like Western Union type transfers, are virtually untraceable and can often be cashed anywhere in the world making it difficult to detect the perpetrators of the fraud."