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Dudley pensioner conned out of £60k

By George Makin | Dudley | Crime | Published:

A Dudley pensioner was conned out of £60,000 over a 20-year period, it has been revealed.

Dudley Council house

The shocking case has been highlighted in a report to members of the health and wellbeing board, who are meeting this week to discuss how to improve fraud awareness.

In a report to the committee, council officers say they contacted the un-named 84-year-old after learning she had lost £200 to a con involving a beauty product.

A company had repeatedly called and conned her into entering fictitious prize draws and lotteries that required minimum orders and on occasion, added unwanted items to her order.

Despite being warned by her family, she continued to pay for goods.

After being contacted by the council’s scams officer, she eventually disclosed she had lost £60,000 over 20 years.

She agreed to sign up as a scam marshall in order to help herself and others by sending her mail to be analysed and assist in further prevention work.

Officers say vulnerable and elderly are often targeted and they deal with some 20 such priority cases each month.

Criminal investigations are ongoing in a number of cases and are likely to result in prosecutions, where financial abusers have been apprehended.

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They include the loss of £60,000 and another of £40,000 to vulnerable victims.

In a third case, £70,000 was repaid to a victim after trading standards intervened.

Since January 2018 the council has dealt with around 460 people who have fallen victim to con artists.

Officers are dealing with some 20 cases each month involving the vulnerable and elderly.

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But funding for the work is set to end next year and the report warns: “The team cannot, however, reach all persons who would benefit from this support in the borough.

“Much is being done to ensure sustainability of the work beyond the end of the current project in August 2020 by the provision of increased training for and awareness by professionals, partners and the wider community. “

Dudley Council is now encouraging all teams within the authority to have a ‘scams champion’ to raise awareness within individual departments.

Councillors will discuss the report at a meeting on June 26.

George Makin

By George Makin
@GeorgePMakin

Local Democracy Reporter covering Sandwell and Dudley.

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