Victims of scams are victims of crime. We need to start making that clear.

Last year Linney clicked on a scam advert. Since then, she’s been added to a suckers list. She has been continually targeted by criminals with different fraud and scams, says Louise Baxter MBE FCTSP, Head of National Trading Standards Scams Team.

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She has cancelled her bank and credit card several times and constantly monitors her accounts. She banks online and is internet savvy, often finding the best deals. She is an active nanny, member of the school PTA and one of the fiercest ladies I have ever met.

One evening at 7:30pm in January, Linney got a text from the bank saying there was suspicious activity coming from her bank account. She needed to call the 0333 number to confirm it was fraud. Linney was used to his sort of text, due to the suckers list and being targeted by criminals.

I Googled this number and nothing comes up. Looks like the start of a legitimate number, right?

Linney called the number, spoke to "Simon" who was patient and gave her support to stop the fraud. Ten minutes later, Linney spoke to one of her daughters, who told her to ring the number on her card, just to check. Linney rang her bank and this is when it started to unravel. Simon was a criminal and in the space of an hour, he had hacked her account, spent hundreds and taken out a loan in her name. Linney was a victim of fraud. Her immediate words to her daughter were: “I feel like a vulnerable old lady.”

Linney then had the task of trying to stop any further money being stolen from her. During the crime, she does not get to ring 999 and wait for someone to help her. She has to speak to three different bank departments, repeating her story. She was even told to wait until the next day to report it as the bank closed at 8pm! And we wonder why people do NOT report this sort of crime.

The latest statistics show that between 15-32% of people report fraud and scams and one of the blockers for not reporting is blame and shame. Are we surprised if you have to relive the crime three times with one organisation just to stop any further crimes happening to you in that moment?

She was initially treated with kindness and empathy from her bank. But the following day she was NOT. The next day the bank told her that she was lying and that she had authorised the payment and the loan. She said she felt like the bank was accusing her of stealing money. She was not listened to. She was blamed and shamed. She was visibly shaking, she kept repeating “she was stupid, and she fell for it’”.

After some strong arguments, the bank has now refunded the money that was stolen and cancelled the loan she did not apply for.

Linney did not FALL for a scam, she is a victim of a crime.

Linney is NOT stupid or vulnerable, she is a victim of a crime.

Linney is not to blame, she is a victim of a crime.

I am Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team and Linney is my amazing mum and the victim of a crime. If she can be victim, anyone can be.

WE MUST DO BETTER! Talk, share, support. Please take away the shame.

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FinCrimeTV - Uncommon Sense - Madalyn Stone

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