PENSIONERS are being warned to be on their guard against fraudsters claiming to be from stock broking companies after a 91-year-old man was conned out of his life savings.
The 91-year-old was hoodwinked into purchasing worthless stock in a company based in the USA through what is commonly known as a ‘boiler room’ scam.
A boiler room fraud is typically targeted at retired people who have access to some savings. The initial approach comes via a cold-call in which the sales person, claiming to be operating on behalf of an overseas company, convinces the victim that they can make an investment that promises a high-yield return.
In this latest incident, the Lancashire victim was led to believe he was dealing with a Japanese company and was conned into handing over £4,000.
“My dad has worked all his life and saved up a small nest egg as a retirement fund for him and my mum.”
“To lose his life savings in this way is distressing to him and his loved ones. This is one of those occasions were words cannot do justice to the contempt that I am feeling at this moment towards the scum who are deliberately targeting the elderly.”
“Lancashire police’s DC Tony McClements has spent considerable time with my dad and the family over the last few weeks, explaining that the investigative options available to the police are limited due to the technology the criminals are employing. The fact that they are also operating from outside the UK jurisdiction complicates matters further. The whole situation is extremely frustrating as the culprits need to be brought to justice.”
Detective Constable Tony McClements, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “I have spent 14 years specialising in the investigation of fraud. The depths to which fraudsters will stoop never ceases to surprise me; to deliberately target a 91 year-old in this manner is shocking.”
He added: “Victims are guided to colourful, glossy websites that depict the company to be a big-time player in the field of investments. The websites are without any depth and contain but a few pages; and links that invariably lead to dead-ends.
“Automated transfer systems are used to trick victims into believing they are being contacted by someone in a specific country, but in fact they could be calling from anywhere in the world. The scams are elaborate and designed to fool ordinary members of the public”.
DC McClements warns anybody who is cold-called in this way, and encouraged to make investments in stocks, to be extremely wary.
He said: “There are legitimate operations out there specialising in these markets, so it is important to highlight that not all are corrupt. Always speak to family and friends before agreeing to purchase stocks and shares; and consider consulting with an independent financial advisor or a representative of your bank.
“Always remember that if the deal you are being offered sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”
If you think you may be a victim of fraud then contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk
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