Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield taxi driver saves lottery scam victim

Lottery balls Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Police said people should ask for full details from the caller and their company, and should never give out address, bank details or other contact details to an unknown caller

A "caring" taxi driver has been praised for saving an 80-year-old Sheffield man from a £5,000 lottery scam.

The pensioner was told he had won £20,000 and was sent a £5,000 cheque, but then told to withdraw the cash and pay it into a Western Union account.

While taking him to the bank, the taxi driver grew concerned about the "lottery win" and told police.

His actions stopped the scam and prevented the pensioner losing £5,000, police said.

'Prey on elderly'

The 80-year-old had been assured he would be sent a £20,000 cheque once he had deposited £5,000 cash into the Western Union account - an account which police said was untraceable.

PC Dale Garner of South Yorkshire Police said: "This scam is based on the fact that once a cheque is taken to a bank and shown as credited to the holder's account, there is a brief period where it can be withdrawn in cash before the cheque is discovered to be false, and subsequently bounces.

"At this point, the bank would request the money back from the victim."

Police said scammers "prey on elderly people and take advantage of their trust", and warned people to beware of anyone contacting them or their relatives being contacted about winning money.

PC Garner said: "The perpetrator in this case was contacting the victim on a daily basis giving him step-by-step instructions of what to do, addresses for the Western Union, down to getting a receipt.

"The only thing the victim knows about the perpetrator is that an 0808 false phone number was given."

The taxi driver was driving the pensioner to withdraw the cash when he heard of the lottery win and raised concerns.

He accompanied the man into the bank and approached police officers in Sheffield city centre who reported the scam to Action Fraud and contacted the victim's family.

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