Milngavie resident one of three fleeced of £100k in investment scam
Three residents have together lost almost £100,000 after being ripped off by fraudsters imitating genuine investment firms.
Now East Dunbartonshire police are warning local people to be alert to the sophisticated scammers.
The three local people were fleeced of £10,000, £35,000 and £50,000 in February and March of this year.
In the first scam, a Milngavie woman got in touch with what appeared to be a genuine company online. She was told she could make small investments and once she deposited £10,000 she would receive a return of £25,000.
However, when she asked to withdraw the full amount after making her final payment, she was told she would have to pay another £4,000.
A police spokesperson said: “She became suspicious and contacted the Financial Conduct Authority who confirmed it was not a legitimate firm and she had been the victim of fraud. Police are now investigating.”
Another local resident was contacted in February by what she thought was her previous private pension provider.
She had lost a substantial sum of money when the firm had earlier been declared insolvent.
A police spokesperson said: “The paperwork appeared legitimate being on headed paper in the company name.
"As a result she entered into telephone conversations with the scammer who stated they could recover monies lost if she provided a ‘small admin fee’.
He added: “She was then contacted a further eight times by various representatives purporting to be from the same company indicating various balances were outstanding.”
The local woman eventually paid out almost £35,000 to the scammer. The company then ceased all contact and she reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson said: “It has since been confirmed that the victim has been defrauded. HMRC are aware of two similar frauds from the same company.”
In the third scam, a resident received a text from a scammer initially purporting to be Royal Mail.
The scammer stated she owed them £2 which could be paid if she provided her bank details.
The police spokesperson said: “The victim responded accordingly. She then received a call from a male who stated he was from her savings bank informing her she had been victim of a scam.
"Believing this to legitimately be her bank she provided further bank details of accounts and agreed to move her monies – in the region of £50,000.
"After several phone calls from ‘unknown’ numbers the victim became suspicious and attended her bank in person where it was confirmed they had not contacted her and monies had been withdrawn fraudulently.” An investigation has been launched.
East Dunbartonshire police are warning people what to look out for and urge them to be extra vigilant as the scammers are “very sophisticated and appear genuine”.One officer said: “Scammers contact their victims via phone, email or social media and often pressurise the victim by telling them the offer is low risk but is time limited."
Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign from Financial Fraud Action UK and the government, backed by the banking industry.
The officer added: “It’s about taking that moment to pause and think before you respond to any text, email or phone call asking you to share any personal or financial details.
"If you suspect someone is after your money, take five and confidently challenge them with this simple phrase: ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so!’”
For more advice, visit https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/