A TAXI driver who stopped scammers from taking £20,000 in cash from an elderly lady has been praised by his colleagues and Sussex Police.
The Observer reported last week how eagle-eyed Reg Hale, of Town Taxis, stumbled across a plot to get the pensioner to put bundles of cash into an envelope and have them delivered to an address in London.
Mr Hale spotted the unusually large amount of cash and reported his concerns to the police, who managed to step in before the woman had parted with a large chunk of her life savings.
Earlier this week his boss, Stuart Robertson, was full of praise for his driver. He said: “I have never heard of anything like this before. I had actually got an email that morning warning us that scammers had been trying to con people in the area but had not spoken to Reg about it yet. Thankfully Reg was vigilant enough to spot something was up and report it. We are all very proud him here.
“The person who had booked the taxi for the lady had also booked a taxi to pick up a package and deliver it to London. It is terrible for people to try and target pensioners like this.”
Sussex Police also commended Mr Hale and said there had been a host of similar scams in the town over the last fortnight. Four residents reported similar scams last Tuesday – including a pensioner who lost £6,500 when a man pretending to be a police officer asked her for her bank details. The trick is to cold call a house pretending to be a policeman or bank worker reporting a stolen bank card. The victim is then asked a host of questions before being encouraged to take money out of the bank – with a taxi driver often sent round to unwittingly play their part by ferrying them to a cash machine before delivering the cash to the scammers.
This has happened around the country and so far around 80 people have fallen for the scam this year – with more than £275,000 having been stolen. A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Please do not give out any details of your bank account to anyone over the phone - simply put the phone down.”
Thankfully, Mr Hale stepped in before the latest victim lost her money.
“She was very grateful,” said Mr Robertson. “She has not been in touch herself but her daughter rang to thank Reg and has arranged to meet up in person when she is down for Christmas.”