A young mother who worked in the hospital during the pandemic received her life savings from bank scammers.
Gemma Buist, 28, a health care assistant, has been betrayed by sophisticated scammers. A few days earlier she was called by someone she believed was from her bank and asked about new direct debits. There are currently several scams targeting people – you can read about them here.
Gemma said, “All they said was that direct debits were set up and I could authorize them. I said no because that had nothing to do with me and that was the end of the conversation.”
Gemma – who has two children, Zack, eight, and Lilly, two – received another call a few days later in the middle of the 12-hour shift. the echo reports.
She said, “I got a call to say, ‘Look, it happened again, someone is aiming at you’. I was stressed and said it needs to be sorted out quickly while I’m at work. I was scared that someone tries to take my money as it seemed to keep happening.
“They asked me some questions and I asked if this was real. They said, ‘Check the back of your debit card to see if it’s the same number.’ I said fair enough. “
Gemma said the details the person gave on the phone appeared to match their account, and in both cases the call she received appeared to be from her own bank phone number. She said, “They said, ‘We’re going to set up a new account for you so you can transfer your money’.
“So I sent two transfers to this new account and they said that in two or three hours your money will be displayed on the new account. We will take care of everything and everything will be set with your account details when you go into your online banking. About five or ten minutes after the call, I went back to check and later called the bank. I said what happened, it hasn’t changed yet and they said, ‘It wasn’t us’. “
Fraudsters had cloned Gemmas Bank’s phone number and, by one compelling act – claiming they were trying to protect their account from previous attempted fraud – managed to steal all of their savings within minutes. The scammers took £ 2,420 of their own money and also cleared Gemma’s pristine overdraft of £ 2,000.
Gemma, who works in the spine department at Southport Hospital in Merseyside, said, “All the money was for bills and it was a nightmare. My bank had to lock my online banking so I wouldn’t have access to see if something happens. ” I had no money for grocery stores or everyday expenses like a taxi to work or lunch.
“I’m trying to get some money back now, a planned trip to take the children to Edinburgh for the school holidays that has now been canceled. I’m doing everything I can to get some money.
“I canceled my hair appointment and told the hairdresser I couldn’t come because I was cheated on and she said don’t be stupid, I’ll do it if for free, but I said no, I can’t.”
“People were really good, but I don’t like to owe anyone.”
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Gemma’s sister Stephanie set up a donation page to try to reclaim some of the money she lost. To make a donation Click here.
She added, “I’m not after asking for money. I think that’s why my sister set up the donation page. I don’t accept help from anyone, I’m always the one trying to help other people.”
“I work 12-hour shifts at the hospital and pick up shifts when I need them. Obviously, the minute I took annual leave, I took the shifts to make some money back.”
Unfortunately, despite the convincing fraud, Gemmas Bank has stated that it will be liable for all money lost, including the overdrafts for which it is also required to pay the interest. She hopes her story will prevent anyone else from falling victim to the same scam and losing even more.
Gemma said, “Honestly, I’ve never been so stressed or scared. I told the bank they called their number, but they told me they can clone any number. I said that people do not know that, especially the elderly. ” What if they get a call and think it’s from the bank? So many people are in danger. “
She added, “I have to set up with a new bank now, but I just can’t right now – I just don’t feel safe putting my money anywhere. Every time the bank calls me, I think they do And then I waste hours of my day on the phone calling back and getting in touch with people since I won’t speak to them when they call me. “