Solihull Council would like to remind all residents to be vigilant and aware of potential scams at this time of year.
In the build-up to Christmas, people spend more money than any other time of year and it can be difficult to know which people, companies and deals are genuine. Please also look out for any vulnerable friends or family members whose good nature may be misplaced.
A woman was recently prevented from being a victim of a scam when staff at NatWest, Knowle Branch, prevented her from withdrawing over £8000 in cash minutes before closing time.
A customer advisor felt uneasy about such a large withdrawal and purposely stalled the customer, saying that she would need to give more notice to take out such a quantity of money and to return at a later date. The advisor then contacted his manager immediately about this enquiry.
The following morning, the customer returned with family members to thank the bank staff for refusing to allow such a large cash withdrawal. She then explained that she had received a phone call from a man claiming that her card was being used fraudulently and should therefore take out all the money from her account to prevent further misuse of her funds.
The man was persistently calling the woman throughout that evening and the next morning demanding an update on whether she had withdrawn the money. The family then called the police when they realised what was going on.
Earlier this year, Solihull Council’s Trading Standards team held an information event in the branch to raise awareness of such scams. Councillor Tony Dicicco, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities and Partnerships, said “We are happy that our work in scam preventions across the borough has helped a resident avoid being a victim of an awful crime. We’ll continue our work in the community to keep all residents safe and would like to remind everyone to be particularly vigilant at this time of year.
“If you suspect fraud or a scam, you should call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report it or visit their website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ ”
Branch manager Laura Gravenor said “The advice and information that the Council gave out at their event on Scams Awareness Day has certainly had a positive impact on customer security and their awareness of scams.
“All our staff here are trained to recognise any suspicious behaviour and withdrawals where something doesn’t feel right. We always work to keep our customers and their money as safe as possible and will continue working with the council to make sure that our staff and customers are aware of new and existing scams.”