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Councillor targeted by phone scammer
Updated 7:51am Monday 19th May 2014 in News
A councillor targeted by a phone scammer is backing a national campaign warning people to be on their guard against con artists.
Graham Jones, who represents Felpham at West Sussex County Council, said residents needed to be watchful against potential fraudsters who may trick them over the phone.
He said: “A female alleging to be a police officer from Paddington Station phoned to inform me they had someone in custody who had been arrested with a number of cloned bank cards in his possession, one of which was mine.
“I was urged to contact my bank immediately; the lady was insistent and extremely pushy, choosing not to empathise with my situation but rather stress that I got in touch with my bank.
“She was very brief and advised me to comply on a number of occasions.
“Although I was wary, I did call to begin the process of providing my bank details but stopped when they asked me for my security code. I felt that was odd.
“Her abruptness had hit a nerve and the penny dropped when she rang a second time demanding my details.
“After checking my balance online to ensure it was okay, I contacted Sussex Police who responded very quickly and confirmed it was a scam as someone in Barnham had reported a similar incident that morning.
“If they had acquired all of my bank details there would have been nothing I could do.”
The UKIP councillor said a lot of vulnerable people might not be “savvy enough” to pick up on a potential con and would “take such a request at face value”.
He said: “That is my main concern.
“Some may react too quickly when they should be more guarded to such demands.
“From my experience, we should make sure phone numbers and addresses are verified thus reducing the chances of people falling into the clutches of scammers.
“I would advise caution as this can happen to anyone.”
Sussex Police has reported several similar incidents so far this year, with one of the most recent cases involving a pensioner from Crowborough who was conned out of £5,000.
For advice and to report scams to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service, call 08454 04 05 06.
Alternatively, call Sussex Police on 101.
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