A pensioner couple from north Northumberland have urged people to be aware of a telephone scam, after they were conned out of thousands of pounds.
The victims, aged 76 and 71, say they are angry and gutted after being tricked by the fraudster.
And now they are urging others not to fall into the same devastating trap.
One of the victims, who did not want to be named, said: “This number had been ringing regularly and I had ignored it, but on this occasion my husband answered the phone.
“The person said he was from BT Fraud Investigations and at this very moment, people were trying to hack into my husband’s bank account.
“The man told him that if my husband went online he would help him go through the process and make sure this didn’t happen.
“My husband went online and a screen came up, purportedly from BT. It looked genuine. This chap took him through a long process and he persuaded my husband to transfer money from his account into a so-called safe account.
“He then made this odd comment, saying that he had put £1,000 into my husband’s account and wanted him to go out and buy iTunes to the value of £1,000.
“Then something clicked. I rang my bank and they told me this is a well-known scam. But it was too late for my husband. Thousands of pounds had been transferred and it vanished into cyberspace and was gone.
“We feel gutted and extremely angry – we are both on a pension and the money which helps us live has gone. Thankfully our family has helped out so we won’t be destitute for the next month.”
She said the man sounded Indian, but gave an ‘ordinary name, like John Smith.’ The phone line was also bad.
She also criticised the bank’s handling of the situation, saying that a week after the incident, the bank had sent a letter to say that the account had been suspended due to ‘unusual activity’. But this was too little, too late.
She said: “Surely they should have known something was happening at the time. Why didn’t they realise at the time that somebody was clearing my husband’s account for a large sum of money?”