A community leader is urging people to stay alert after he was targeted by mobile text scammers. Cheadle Town councillor Gary Bentley told the Times & Echo how a fraudster attempted to persuade him to bank transfer over £2,382.95 after pretending to be his daughter over the messaging app service WhatsApp.
A community leader is urging people to stay alert after he was targeted by mobile text scammers.
Cheadle Town councillor Gary Bentley told the Times & Echo how a fraudster attempted to persuade him to bank transfer over £2,382.95 after pretending to be his daughter over the messaging app service WhatsApp.
Fortunately, with the help of friends, he realised it was a scam before it was too late and averted the crisis.
However, he revealed his worry for vulnerable members of the community that could be successfully tricked.
He explained: “My daughter recently got a job in the NHS and they have given her a phone so when she’s calling a client she doesn’t use her own phone.
“She’s never phoned me on her other phone because I don’t need to know the number.
“So when that message came, it made sense because she was working at the hospital so she could have gone out at lunchtime to get a sandwich and everything else was making sense.”
Cllr Bentley told of how he first clocked on that all was not as seemed.
He added: “When she said ‘I can’t talk’ I expected her to say ‘I’ll call you in a bit’ so that’s when I started smelling a rat.
“And the amount they were asking for was a bit too good as well.
“I was in the Lamplighter pub having a pint with my mates and they said straight away it was a scam so then we just played them for a bit of devilment really.
“I’d like to thank Dave and Rita Gomm (who run the Lamplighter) and Azza Brindley for helping me realise it was a scam.”
Cllr Bentley expressed his concern for those who could fall foul of scammers more easily, saying: “It made me feel lucky that I’ve got good friends around me but I feel scared for the vulnerable people out there who might have just done it.
“Anyone who sees such a message please double check it, it takes two minutes to call whoever they are pretending to be.”
He continued: “The sad thing about it is – what do we do with that?
“We can’t walk into the local police station because it’s shut, we can’t phone 999 with it so what else can we do with it?”
A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “If you suspect you may have been scammed or have any information about a possible fraudster, you should contact Action Fraud.
“We work closely with partnering organisations in-order to deliver effective policing methods against a multitude of frauds – including cyber fraud, business fraud, personal fraud and identity fraud.
“For members of the public, Action Fraud can be contacted on 03001 232040, from 8am until 8pm, Monday to Friday.”
They added: “For advice and to speak to an officer directly, consider attending an engagement session in your local community.
“Police Community Support Officers are frequently active in their area and hold regular sessions, both online and in person.
“Usually, these sessions – including the date, time and location – will be advertised on our website and social media channels.
“Alternatively, if you would like more specific advice, consider contacting other partnering organisations, such as Cyber Aware, Citizens Advice, Get Safe Online and No More Ransom to name a few.”
To read more on Staffordshire Police’s guidance to fraud, visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/.
Please note: The Times & Echo have blocked out the name of the ‘Receiver’ in the screenshots displayed in order to prevent an innocent party with the same name being unjustifiably targeted.
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