Awareness training helps cabbie save pensioner from scammer

A pensioner was saved from a scammer by a quick-thinking taxi driver who had been trained to help the vulnerable by Adur & Worthing Councils.

Arrow Taxi Group driver Lisa Stanbridge stepped in when she heard an 87-year-old Worthing grandmother in the back of her cab telling a friend how she had withdrawn more than £2,000 from her bank and was on the way to give it to a man she had never met.

The grandmother had been called by a man posing as a police officer who had told her thieves were trying to steal money from her bank account and that she should withdraw her savings and give them to him for safekeeping.

Using skills she had learned in safeguarding training delivered by the Councils, Lisa realised something wasn’t right, so instead of driving the pensioner to the scammer she took her to a police station to report the crime.

Lisa said:

“There’s no way you could hear that sort of thing and then drop them off like they’re not your problem. Our boss always tells us to be vigilant and listen out because you never know what you might hear.

“It is such a good feeling when you stop something like this. If people listen and speak out if they hear something that’s a little bit off, we can help more people from getting scammed.”

All taxi licence holders in Adur and Worthing undergo mandatory safeguarding training to help them protect the vulnerable in the community. They are trained to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, suspicious behaviour and general safeguarding concerns. They go on a refresher course every three years.

So far over 500 licence holders have undergone the training, which forms part of Adur & Worthing Councils’ Safer Communities strategy.

Cllr Sean McDonald, Worthing Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, said:

“We would like to offer our grateful thanks to Lisa. Her actions are a shining example of the community spirit here in Adur and Worthing. She should feel extremely proud of the way her compassion and kindness saved this vulnerable woman from being scammed.”

Bernadette Lawrie BEM, a financial abuse safeguarding officer for Sussex & Surrey Police, said:

“Courier fraud is a heartless crime perpetrated by criminals who specifically target elderly people. Being a victim of fraud can have a huge and lasting impact on the most vulnerable members of our community.

“I can’t emphasise enough that we, as the police, and your bank, will never ask for your PIN or full banking password. We will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer money out of your account, or arrange for anyone to collect bank cards or money from your home address.”

If you suspect you or someone you know may have been targeted by scammers, call 101.

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