I’m humiliated, can’t sleep and trust NO-ONE after scammer robbed me of £30k – I still hear his voice | The SunJune 22, 2022
A WOMAN revealed she lost her life savings after falling victim to a phone scam on Monday’s episode of BBC’s Dirty Rotten Scammers.
A fraudster drained £30,000 from Elaine’s bank account, leaving her “really humiliated” when she realised she’d been the victim of a scam.
“It wasn’t just that amount of money, it was 20 years of savings so that was the impact,” she told mother-daughter duo Mavis and Michelle Ackerley who host Dirty Rotten Scammers.
“That money wasn’t sitting there because I want to buy a boat, it was sitting there because I pay my bills and my mortgage and my food,” she added.
Elaine’s ordeal began when her bank, HSBC, urged her to make online transactions instead of going into the bank during the Covid-19 pandemic. She’d never used online banking before, but set it up successfully and made her first transaction.
The following day, Elaine received a call from someone claiming to be from BT Internet.
“The next day, it was a perfect storm of circumstances. I got this call that said ‘This is BT Internet calling. I see that you made a bank transfer yesterday. I need to let you know that someone has broken your firewall’.”
Elaine admitted to the Dirty Rotten Scammers presenters that she was already feeling vulnerable before receiving the call because she’d been isolating alone for five months because of her panic. She felt even worse during the call, when fear and panic set in.
“In that moment, I was putty in their hands,” she said.
Elaine told the illegitimate BT Internet caller that yes, she had made that transaction, so the caller told her she’d be transferred to the company’s technical department.
She allowed the man on the phone remote access and downloaded the apps that he told her to. Elaine didn’t realise he was scamming her, and she was grateful for his help.
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The scammer, who pretended to be tech support, spent two days on the phone with Elaine.
“I was ready to marry this man,” she said. “He was patient, he was intelligent, he knew what he was doing and me, a single woman in total isolation for five months, there was no one there sitting in my house listening to this conversation saying ‘Don’t you think we should check this?’.”
However, instead of safeguarding her accounts like he promised, the man on the phone infiltrated Elaine’s accounts and drained her bank balance until there was nothing left.
“I was really humiliated. I couldn’t sleep at night because I kept hearing the voice of this man in my head because he was on the phone with me for over two days.”
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Embarrassed and ashamed, Elaine took over two weeks to tell anyone what had happened to her. “My sister, she was shocked that it happened to me, she knows how street smart I am. I mean, I was in the Peace Corps.”
Dirty Rotten Scammers’ team of ethical hackers explained to Elaine how she was targeted in the first place. They revealed her information was part of a data breach in 2016 and has been available to scammers for years.
Ultimately, Elaine was able to recover the money the scammers had stolen, but their actions have deeply affected her. “It’s changed me profoundly. I instinctively trust no one,” she admitted.
Dirty Rotten Scammers continues at 10am on weekdays on BBC One.
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