Pam Ayres ‘petrified’ after being targeted by fraudster: ‘I remember how frightened I was’
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Pam Ayres, 73, has revealed she felt “vulnerable” after being targeted by a fraudster who informed her that her account had been “compromised” in a scam over the phone. The poet, who has teamed up with Santander to take on investment fraudsters ahead of National Poetry Day, explained she managed to avoid being scammed by questioning the man who called her until he hung up.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk about the frightening incident, Pam said: “It wasn’t a very sophisticated approach, but nevertheless it petrified me.
“I received a call from a man saying, ‘Your account’s been compromised’ and the thing I remember was how frightened I was and how vulnerable you feel and how you are desperate to rectify whatever’s been done to your account because you believe the person.
“They sound convincing and it’s easy to do whatever they suggest to put things right, but you’re actually playing into their hands.”
The star, who rose to fame after appearing on Opportunity Knocks, continued: “I did ask him some questions and the more I questioned him, the more hesitant he became and in the end he hung up.
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“But I remember the fear and vulnerability that I felt and also a member of my family who is poorly with cognitive impairment was almost scammed and his wife came in just as he was giving out the bank details and the sort code and everything.
“She just managed to grab the phone and put the phone down and this is why I wanted to get involved.”
Pam has composed a new poem, entitled Have You Got Some Money? to raise awareness of the issue.
The television and radio personality admitted she found the poem “difficult” to write.
She explained: “I did find it quite difficult because it’s not the kind of thing I usually write.
“I usually write things that try to make people laugh most of the time, but I believe in this.
“I think it’s a very good project to be involved with and it was interesting to try to condense all the information they sent me into a poem that bounced along in a nice way and actually got the message across, so it was an interesting challenge as a writer to come up with something that worked.”
Pam went on to say that fraudsters tricking elderly people into giving away their savings makes her feel “angry”.
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She divulged: “I was angry, really, that such clever people tried to trick, particularly older people, out of their savings and out of their pension, so they use what must be phenomenal skills to do so.
“Older people are more vulnerable, they’re not savvy with the technology and it’s done in such a sophisticated way.
“When I was asked to get involved, I thought it was just a matter of somebody ringing up and saying, ‘You’re account’s been compromised you should put all your money into this account’, but it’s moved on since then.
“It’s much more serious and much more difficult to detect.”
Pam also issued some advice to older people who are concerned about being targeted by scammers.
She said: “Be suspicious, be very suspicious, and if you are asked to send money to a certain company, there’s nothing wrong with ringing the company and checking that the details are correct and the sort code is correct and it was them that sent out the invoice and it’s not someone who’s cloned it.
“So I would say be suspicious, check and double check, and don’t be afraid to look impolite by putting the phone down.
“I think particularly older people don’t like to look impolite, but there’s nothing wrong with just putting the phone down.”
Poet Pam Ayres turns financial crimes into rhymes to write new ‘Scam Sonnets’, partnering with Santander to raise awareness of investment fraud and educate the public on how to spot the signs. For advice on how to protect yourself from investment scams, visit http://www.santander.co.uk/personal/support/fraud-and-security/spotting-fraud-or-scams
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