Huge relief for scam victims as police help recover £1million
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Scam victims have recovered more than £1million after Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud and cyber teams helped them get their money back.
Forty-five victims have been reimbursed this year after Protect officers helped them submit claims to their banks, which have a duty of care to protect customers from fraud and cybercrime.
In some instances, the officers also helped victims take their cases to the Financial Ombudsman Service – even though this level of support falls outside their job remit.
Fraud victims recovered £805k in total this year after being supported by Nottinghamshire Police, while cybercrime victims were reimbursed £256k.
A further £1.25m in losses were prevented after the fraud team provided advice to people who called the police after suspecting they were being targeted.
Meanwhile, both teams have helped countless people protect themselves from criminals by hosting engagement days at colleges, universities, libraries and cafes throughout the year.
Among the victims helped by the force was a Rushcliffe pensioner. The 71-year-old lost £70,000 after falling victim to romance fraud – but recovered £60,000 after the fraud Protect team helped her submit a claim to her bank.
Protect officer Mark Lonsdale said:
“The lady sadly lost her husband and then an additional three family members. She was also diagnosed with cancer and that made her feel extremely low.
“She was seeking companionship and so went on social media, whereby she started conversing with a male who duped her into investing into a ‘business’ opportunity.
“She then began a relationship with him and then came the untrue news that he’d been involved in an accident.
“She was then emotionally manipulated in sending money to the man, who claimed he needed it for medical bills. He even got others to contact her to make his stories sound more convincing, including people claiming to be his daughter, doctor and lawyer.
“In total, she ended up transferring £70,000 across 23 transactions and found it very difficult to cope after it became apparent she had been scammed.
“By working with her daughter, we went through all her bank statements and highlighted the transactions that should have been a red flag to her bank.
“We then helped her submit a claim that demonstrated why she was deserving to have her losses refunded by the bank.
“She was eventually refunded £60,000 which was a great result, as it meant she didn’t have to sell her house.”
Mark said he was extremely happy when he found out the victim had been refunded the bulk of her losses.
“When a victim turns around to you and says, because of what you’ve done I’ve got £60,000 back… it’s an incredible feeling,” he said.
Fellow Protect officer Lucy Kennedy, who also supported the victim, added:
“It was the best day. When we initially went to see her, she was crying so much. It was nice that we could help her recover so much of what she’d lost.
“We spent many hours helping her but it was worth it. For me, helping victims get their money back is definitely the most rewarding part of the job.”
Another scam saw a cybercrime victim lose her business after a conman tricked her into granting him remote access of her device.
The conman contacted the 51-year-old, from the Gedling district of Nottinghamshire, about an £100-a-month investment opportunity and convinced her to download remote access software so that he could set everything up on her behalf.
But instead he stole £50,000 from her accounts and a £10,000 loan taken out in her name – forcing her to liquidate her business and make her employees redundant.
With the help of Nottinghamshire Police’s cyber Protect team, she was refunded £33,000 after taking the case to the Financial Ombudsman. The loan repayments were also cancelled.
Cyber Protect officer Kirsty Jackson said:
“She was in a massive mess and wasn’t able to pay her employees. You can image the emotional impact it had on them all.
“I lost track of how many hours I spent with her, gathering all the information needed to submit a claim to her bank and then the Financial Ombudsman.
“But it was worth it as the money she eventually got back enabled her to set up a new business. It meant she could start again.
“For me, to hear that happy ending was incredible. She’s a single mum and I saw what she went through. When you help someone get their money back, it gives you the biggest buzz ever.”