By Ciara Quinn

OLDER people in the community are being urged to be on their guard after an elderly pensioner was conned out of almost £2,000 in a phone scam. The pensioner, who resides in the Andersonstown Fold, was contacted by a person claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice and informed she was to receive £7,000 but needed to pay £1,600 for tax purposes.

The pensioner was given instructions to go and get the money to cover the tax  and she would be issued with a cheque, which would be delivered to her in person by a solicitor.

She was told to make payments at pay points at  her local credit union, a filling station and a supermarket. The pensioner was then phoned back after she had done this for the voucher numbers on the receipts so they could collect the money.

SDLP Councillor Tim Attwood told the Andersonstown News that it is important that our senior citizens are made aware there are conmen in West Belfast who will target vulnerable people.

“They need to be very cautious when dealing with strangers and offers that are too good to be true,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with being sceptical – especially before signing anything or handing over any money. You can contact Age NI 08088087575 if you have concerns.

“This is a very unfortunate case where criminals have pulled a serious crime on a vulnerable pensioner. Help the Aged has said millions of older people receive phone calls or letters falsely claiming they have won a competition or a lottery. It warns that elderly people are more likely to be targeted than other age groups, while separate research shows pensioners are likely to lose twice as much money, on average £1,261, than younger adults to a bogus giveaway.

“I have spoken with the local credit union but unfortunately most of the money is gone but we were were able to stop £240 coming out of her account and she will get this back.”

 

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