Knowledge is power in the fight against fraud. Florence explains how she helped the real police beat the scammers.
The phone rang just as I had let the undertaker in. My darling husband Albie had recently died, and the undertaker was bringing me his ashes. The man on the phone said he was a policeman and needed my help to catch money forgers. I was brought up to believe that you’ve got to do as the police say, so when he asked me to go to a bank and withdraw £10,000, I did.
As soon as I returned, the phone rang. The caller said he would send a policeman to collect the money. I had to give him a name to say so I would know it was him, so I said my husband’s middle name, Stanley. A young man wearing a helmet came to the door. I couldn’t see his face, but he said ‘Stanley,’ so I gave him the money.
Within half an hour the other fella phoned and said, ‘Thank you, you’ve done such good work. We’ll catch the forgers through that money.’ Then he said, ‘Would you get some more?’
I didn’t think about what had happened to the money – I wasn’t thinking straight. I said I would go to the bank on Monday.
On Sunday, a policeman came to the door. I said, ‘Thank goodness, I thought it was all a con.’ He asked me what I meant and I told him about the money. He instantly got some detectives to come round. It turned out that the bank had alerted them when I took the money out. I thought that was wonderful.
The detectives took my details and said they’d be there next time the man called. They told me to do what he asked – he wanted another £30,000. A policeman disguised as a taxi driver took me to the bank. At the bank, I asked for the money and the assistant brought back a thick envelope.
'We've got him!'
The policeman in the taxi took me home and some detectives came with me. There were detectives in the bedroom, toilet and kitchen. They told me to leave the money on the table, let the caller in and they would see to things after that. A different boy knocked at the door, but he still had a helmet on. As I walked back to get the money, the police flew past me. It made me jump out of my skin! The boy ran and I heard a crash, then the youngest of the detectives came in holding the boy’s helmet and said, ‘We’ve got him!’
I went to the bank a week later and the girl behind the counter handed me a slip. The bank had given me all my money back.