Woman, 73, warns St Albans residents over scammers

People are being warned about phone scammers in the area

People are being warned about phone scammers in the area - Credit: Archant

A 73-year-old St Albans woman could have been the latest victim in a scam conning people out of their cash.

Sheelagh Rix was telephoned on Friday, May 3 by a woman claiming she had some money owed to her. The woman then said that Sheelagh just needed to pay them before the cheque refund could be sent to her.

She asked Sheelagh to go to a shop and buy almost £200 worth of Google Play cards and then read a code to them over the phone.

Sheelagh said: "They said they were from a bank and that I was owed about three thousand pounds. They said they could send me a cheque but they needed me to pay five per cent of it to them today, over the phone, with a gift card code that I was to go and buy."

They told her which shops she could buy them from and asked her if she was anywhere near Jersey Farm at the time. Half an hour later they asked why she had taken so long and quizzed her on her whereabouts.

She told them it was none of their business and that she could not find the code they requested. It was then that the scammers hung up.

Similar scams involve asking members of the public to buy other gift cards such as iTunes. Sheelagh knew it was a scam and called the police.

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Sheelagh, who Herts police made 'Citizen of the Year 2018' for her voluntary work supporting young people in custody, said: "It is disgusting. I want people to be aware that this is happening so that they do not get tricked out of money.

"People need to know about this. These scammers need to be shown up for who they really are. They also need to think ahead - they will be old one day."

A spokesperson for Herts police said: "The lady who reported it was clear that she knew that this was an attempted scam so she was not at risk.

"The call handler advised her to report the matter to Action Fraud and the details were passed onto our local Safer Neighbourhood Team officers." Police said that local officers have attended the woman's home several times to offer face to face reassurance but she was not in at the time.

If you have been affected by anything similar you can report this to police on the non-emergency number 101.