A quick-thinking taxi driver has thwarted a financial fraud by alerting the bank of the intended victim.
When the 87-year-old female victim told the driver that she needed to withdraw all her money from her bank account he became suspicious.
The taxi had been booked via phone call by someone with a foreign accent. They asked for a company to pick up “his mother” and take her to the Nat West Bank in Clevedon from her home in Nailsea.
During the journey the woman said that she had been told there was something funny going on with her account and that she had been requested to withdraw all her money from her account, which is why she was going to the bank.
But Donald Wilby, a driver for Nailsea and Backwell Taxis became suspicious and when he arrived at the bank he alerted bank staff who then froze the woman’s account and called the police.
Det Sgt Marc Milliner of the Avon and Somerset Police’s Complex Crime Unit said: “Mr Wilby, the taxi driver did exactly what we would have wanted and raised his concerns with the bank and ourselves.
“His quick-thinking action has potentially saved the victim from being duped out of her life savings.
“We hope other taxi drivers and those providing a courier collection service will take this on board and alert us if they are asked to take elderly and vulnerable people to withdraw cash from their banks or are asked to collect packages from people on behalf of police officers or bank officials,” said DS Milliner.
We would also remind people to be vigilant, especially when the caller claims to be from the police or bank, claiming there is a problem with their bank account and encouraging them to withdraw large sums of cash. This may involve having a taxi or courier to collect sums of money.
• Police and banks will never ask members of the public to give out personal details, such as bank account numbers or PIN numbers over the phone or send a courier to collect bank cards or money.
• If you receive what you believe to be a scam/fraudulent call, end it immediately and call your bank or police. Before making a confirmation phone call either Wait five minutes or Use a different phone (eg mobile or neighbour’s phone) in case your line has been locked by the scammer
• If you have any doubts about who you are speaking to, ask for identification. Police officers and other official callers will expect you to check their identity. They won’t mind waiting while you do so.
• Taxi services and courier companies in the county who have been made aware of the courier fraud offending and continue to pick up ‘packages’ from victims could face prosecution.