A concerned taxi driver intervened when they suspected a pension was set to become a victim of fraud.
Thanks to the intervention of the driver, the Gateshead pensioner was spared of a fraudulent encounter with con artists.
The con artists were claiming to be from Barclays’ Fraud Office, and part of the elaborate con was tricking the pensioner, who is in her 80s, into believing she had been targeted by a stranger making strange purchases on her card.
The fraudsters convinced her that in order to safeguard her money she needed to withdraw £2,000, which she would then post to an address.
The pension rang for a taxi to take her to the nearest Barclay’s branch, at which point the driver overheard the woman on her mobile being told that she was not to tell the bank what the withdrawal was for.
Alarmed by the conversation, the driver escorted the pensioner into the branch and flagged down a member of staff to warn them, where bank staff were able to intervene and swiftly called officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Ord of Northumbria Police’s Cyber Crime department said: “This type of fraud is particularly awful as it sees fraudsters deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our communities and preying on their fears.
“In the past few days we have had three similar reports where elderly members of our community have been targeted and asked to withdraw and post large sums of cash.
“Thankfully, each time bank staff have raised the alarm and prevented hard-working people from losing out.”
She added: “Please take the time to talk to your loved ones about ‘courier fraud’ and help us reinforce the message that a bank will never ask anyone to withdraw cash or send anything via a courier.
“Remember, police officers or your bank will never ask you to hand over money, or transfer funds. If you receive a call like this do not interact with them - hang up and report it.”
Enquiries are ongoing into all three incidents.