Fraudsters target elderly Portsmouth couple

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HOMEOWNERS are being warned to guard themselves against a boiler insurance scam.

Police and Trading Standards have issued the warnings after a woman in her 80s was targeted by fraudsters.

Elizabeth Smith was at her Anchorage Park home in Portsmouth with her husband when the phone rang.

On the line was a woman who informed Mrs Smith her boiler insurance was about to run out, and she needed to renew it over the telephone using her debit card without delay.

Mrs Smith said: ‘She said I had a policy with them, and I should give my bank number to them.

‘I knew straight away it was wrong.

‘Then she said she would send some paperwork through the post, but I still had to give her my details on the phone.

‘I think people should be warned because they might not realise it’s not right.’

Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said the consequences of such calls could be more than just lost money.

He said: ‘For most residents, nuisance calls are nothing more than an annoyance.

‘However, for elderly and vulnerable members of the community who fall victim to scammers, cold calling can have a serious impact, including loss of independence, mental deterioration and financial hardship.’

Hampshire police is investigating the incident.

A spokeswoman for the force said: ‘Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.

‘If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.

‘Bogus callers use tricks to get into your home, such as pretending to be from water, gas or electricity companies.

‘Remember, none of these companies should ever need to access your home, even in an emergency – call the company they claim to be from by using the telephone number in the phone book or on a bill.

‘Remember, if a caller is genuine they will understand your concerns.’

If you have received such calls, contact police on 101 to report them.