A retired police officer has been left “devastated and embarrassed” after losing £3,000 to scammers posing as Royal Mail.
The man, who wanted to be known only as Alan, said he thought the con-artists were “legitimate and credible” when he spoke to them on the phone.
He had fallen prey to a scam text message that claimed a parcel was awaiting delivery by Royal Mail.
Royal Mail has confirmed it would never send such a text message.
Victims receive a text purporting to be from the company which reads: “Your Royal Mail parcel is awaiting delivery. Please confirm the settlement of 1.99 (GBP) on the following link”.
The message then links to a website mocked up to look like an official site.
The page requests personal and payment details, which fraudsters use to steal the victim’s identity or target them with further scams.
‘Helpless and angry’
In Alan’s case, the scammers used his details to call him back, pretending to be his bank alerting him to the deception, and then got him to transfer money to a new account they claimed to have set up for him.
Alan, from Carlisle, told BBC Radio Cumbria the crooks appeared “so credible” because they were able to provide details about his account, including that he had pending payments.
He even went online while speaking to them to search their phone numbers which “came back as legitimate”.
After realising he had been scammed, Alan, who worked for the police for more than 25 years, said: “I was devastated and embarrassed.
“I used to give people advice for over 25 years on scams and I was caught out.
“I thought ‘how can I tell my wife and family? They will laugh at me at me and say how stupid are you’.”
He said he felt “helpless and angry”, adding: “It’s one for everybody to be aware of.
“I wouldn’t class myself as vulnerable, I have a previous life of explaining to people what to do and I got caught.
“If you have any doubt whatsoever just put the phone down, don’t explain yourself.”