Fraud and cyber officers at Nottinghamshire Police have been thanked by victims for helping them recover over £300,000 lost to scammers.
Seventeen victims were reimbursed over the past year after the officers helped them submit claims to their banks, which have a duty to protect customers from cyber crime and fraud.
In some instances, the officers also helped victims take their cases to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
By going beyond the call of duty, the force’s fraud and cyber 'Protect' teams – set up to educate the public on how to stop scammers – helped victims recover £305,226.29 over the past year.
Kirsty Jackson, who joined the cyber protect team in 2018, said: “I’ve been helping one lady who lost £10,000 in a scam – it was all the money she had and wanted this to pay for her funeral, something that was very important to her.
“It was so sad. She told me she’d been crying every day and felt too ashamed to tell her family. This is common amongst victims. It’s hard to see the impact scams have on victims both financially and emotionally, that’s what drives me to help in any way I can."
The process of submitting indemnity claims can be difficult to navigate. Most victims don’t even realise this is an option and for vulnerable and elderly people this is even more challenging for them. By stepping in to help, the cyber and fraud protect teams have helped some victims get back their entire life savings.
Among them was a retired Clifton woman who lost £45,000 in a remote access scam in June 2022. The woman believed she was communicating with a genuine company employee when she agreed to let him take control of her computer from his own location, believing he was trying to assist her. But instead it was a scammer who then used the remote access technology to steal her life savings.
As well as providing advice to prevent it happening again, the cyber protect team helped her construct a claim to her bank.
The woman said the help she received from Nottinghamshire Police was invaluable. She said: “When I realised I’d been scammed, I felt absolutely sick. It was my whole life savings – everything I’d worked hard for had been a waste of time because it was all gone now. I was absolutely gutted.
“Therefore it was such a relief to get the money back. Kirsty (from the cyber protect team) was really good and it meant so much having someone helping me. She gave me advice on what I needed to put in my claim to the bank. I sent her a draft and she responded with some thoughts on what else I could say.
“I’m so grateful that I was reimbursed.”
Numerous other victims have also been reimbursed having received help from the force’s cyber and fraud protect teams.
Among them is a 90-year-old woman who lost £45,000 in a courier fraud scam in November. The victim, from Gedling, was contacted by a man purporting to be a police officer. The bogus cop told her that her bank account had been hacked and that the safest way for her to protect her money was to spend it on high-value jewellery.
The same bogus officer then advised her a courier would attend her property to collect the jewellery for safe keeping. Two watches and 6000 euros in cash were then collected from the victim, leaving her approximately £45,000 out of pocket.
Meanwhile, another courier fraud victim – who purchased and handed over a £19,000 Rolex watch in similar circumstances – has also been reimbursed after being supported by the fraud protect team.
Elsewhere, a Toton pensioner was refunded £26,500 after falling victim to a remote access scam. In this case, the victim was contacted by a man claiming to be from Amazon.
Following a number of lengthy conversations, the woman was duped into transferring vast sums of money via her online banking account. She did this after being told she was assisting in a fraud trap to catch those who had been taking her money.
Dale Richardson, who joined the fraud protect team in 2020, said the impact of such scams should not be underestimated. She said: “When you visit elderly people who have worked hard all their lives lose their life savings, it’s really upsetting.
“One of the victims I helped was devastated when he lost his savings. After a couple of calls to the bank whilst visiting him and giving him advise, he felt a lot better that someone was there to help him. When I called him for an update and he said that he had gotten the money back, he was ecstatic.
“Moments like these are so rewarding. To know you’ve helped them get their money back is an amazing feeling.”