Jun 22 2011 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
A SUMMERLEE pensioner is warning fellow Monklands residents to be on their guard after being tricked into disclosing her bank details.
The 74-year-old was contacted by a bogus caller offering a too-good-to-be-true energy deal – and despite her suspicions, was eventually convinced to divulge personal information and account details.
Although the woman immediately contacted her bank to freeze the account and ensure no money was stolen, she was left distressed by the incident and wants to ensure others avoid falling into the same trap.
Last Wednesday evening, the pensioner – who has asked to remain anonymous – received a phone call at her home from a woman falsely purporting to be from Scottish Gas.
The local woman said: “This caller told me that she was offering a new price of £7 to provide cover for my central heating and boiler.
“I didn’t believe her but she kept talking and going on and on; she kept me on the phone for about an hour but was so nice and eventually managed to convince me.
“She said that they’d had complaints about the cost of this service so were offering discounts for long-standing customers like me and that I’d really only be paying that price.
“I asked what would happen if I went off the phone and called Scottish Gas later, but she said that I wouldn’t get back through to her and would have to go through the whole rigmarole again.
“She asked for my bank details; I said the company had them already but she said, ‘that’s another department,’ and I agreed to give them to her.
“As soon as I came off the phone, I was suspicious – I phoned Scottish Gas and they said that what had happened wasn’t right and told me to contact my bank immediately to change the account and card numbers.
“I’ve been lucky because I did all that within minutes so no money could be taken, but I can’t believe I was conned.
“Even though I felt uncomfortable all the way through the call, she somehow still managed just to keep talking and to convince me.
“If I had read in the Advertiser about somebody else being conned that way, I’d have thought it was stupid to give bank details on the phone – I really can’t believe I was taken in by it and I was really upset about it.”
Scottish Gas confirmed that their representatives would not cold-call customers and request such details and say they are now conducting enquiries.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We are investigating this incident as a priority and will contact the customer to find out the full details of this case.
“We treat the security of our customers’ information very seriously and would advise any who are concerned to contact us on 0800 048 0505.”
Constable Davy Cumming of the community safety department at Coatbridge police office added: “At no time should any individual divulge their bank account details to any cold callers at the door or by phone.
“If they state they are from a particular company, take a reference number, check the company’s phone number in the directory and call them for clarification.
“There should be no occasion that any company requires bank details unless you have phoned them to purchase items – and if you are unsure about any caller, just hang up.”