What's it like to be targeted by scammers?

Source : Age Cymru
Published on 12 May 2014 09:30 AM

A Swansea pensioner has spoken to Age Cymru about the time criminals tried to steal her money by bombarding her with phone calls.

During January this year, 74-year-old widow Valmai Fox, received a series of increasingly menacing calls from the crooks.

They tried to persuade Valmai to give them access to her home computer so that they could put malicious software on it and then charge her to remove it.  

Says Valmai, who has gone public with her story this month, which is Scams Awareness Month 2014:

“I had a call at home one day the caller sounded very concerned and he said there was a problem with my computer.

“He said there was a virus on it and that I needed to go to my computer, switch it on and he would fix it for me.

“I said ‘I’ve actually got someone who fixes my computer for me, so thanks by no thanks’ and I put the phone down.

“A few days later, the phone rang again.

“It was him – he said he was from Windows, because that was meant to make me trust him.

“He repeated that there was still a virus on my computer and that hackers could gain access to it, but he could repair it for me.

“I started to feel worried so I said ‘No, I’ll get the man who usually fixes my computer to look at it for me’, and I put the phone down.

“I didn’t hear anything for a while, but the next call really did frighten me.

“He said ‘I’m from Windows and I’m ringing to let you know that we have received a warning that there are illicit images on your hard drive.

“I told him ‘There can’t be. I’m the only one that uses the computer.’

“He replied ‘I assure you there are’.

“So I said ‘If that’s the case, I’ll go and see the man that I normally see’ and I put the phone down.

“The next day, the phone rings again and the caller said ‘You haven’t taken heed of the warning that there are illicit images’.

“I replied ‘Well if they are clever enough to put it on, whoever examines my computer will see that I’ve never opened it, whatever is there.

”He said ‘I can put it right’, but I replied ‘No, I will get somebody else to put it right’ and ended the conversation.

“I then spoke to a friend who works with computers about it and he said ‘It’s a scam’ and I commented that I had I feeling it was.

“A few days later the phone rang and it was the caller again.

“I said to him ‘This has upset me so much, I’m an old lady and this has upset me so much I’ve given my computer away’ and I’ve never heard from them since.”

Says Gerry Keighley, Age Cymru’s Campaign Coordinator, who is heading up our‘Scams and swindles’ campaign:

“Unfortunately, Valmai’s story is all too common.

"Scammers are ruthless parasites without a trace of conscience.

"Their major tactic is to target vulnerable people and wear them down, as in this case.

“Age Cymru’s research shows that in Wales during 2012/2013, there were almost 2,500 scams reported to Trading Standards in Wales.

“This is why during Scams Awareness Month 2014 Age Cymru is repeating its call for government action to tackle scams against older people.”   

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