The swift actions of an ambulance crew in Scunthorpe have prevented their vulnerable patient from falling foul of a scam.
Yvette Ray, an ambulance technician for East Midlands Ambulance Service and colleague Chris Gough, were carrying out observations on the elderly man and after talking to him, established that something was not right about an encounter he had experienced the day before.
Yvette explained that the patient had mentioned that some people had knocked on his door the day before, claiming to be trained tradesmen who wanted to have a look at his roof.
“The patient told us that they went upstairs and after claiming to have conducted some checks, they said they needed a sum of £9,000 to buy some new roof timbers but they needed the money upfront before coming back with the supplies.
“I went outside to have a look at the man’s roof and it looked in good condition to me.”
Yvette immediately rang the bank to cancel the man’s cards and cheques after he informed the crew that he had supplied the cold-calling strangers with a cheque and then realised that his chequebook and bank cards were missing.
“My heart was just breaking for him in that moment as he was starting to panic that he was going to have all his money taken out of his account.
“We could tell that this man was very vulnerable based on his age and the fact that he was living alone, and I believe this is why he was targeted.
“I just wanted to do everything I could do to reassure him that everything was going to be ok and that he was not going to lose his money.”
Yvette and Chris also contacted the patient’s family so they could help him with setting up his new bank cards and chequebook.
Chris Gough, who has over 23 years of frontline service with EMAS, said:
“What we did that day is what myself, Yvette and our frontline colleagues do for patients on a daily basis.
“We don’t see what we did as going ‘above and beyond’ because we wanted to make sure that the gentleman was going to be looked after long after we left the scene.
“If this situation hadn’t been resolved for our patient then this would have had a detrimental impact on his recovery and longer-term health and we come to work with the aim to improve outcomes for all our patients.”
Yvette rang the police to let them know what had happened.
Detective Sergeant Ben Robinson from Humberside Police, said:
“Rogue traders and fraudsters will often target elderly or vulnerable people in their homes, making them feel intimidated or threatened into taking up services or handing over cash they may not have.
“It can be an extremely frightening experience, especially for those living alone.
“In this situation, thankfully the victim told a member of ambulance staff about the situation and she was able to quickly intervene before he lost a large amount of money.
“I would like to offer some crime prevention advice to help you or your loved ones from falling victim to these types of fraud offences.
“We would always advise that you don’t open the door to strangers, or to anyone who cannot provide valid ID.
“If they are trying to sell you a service or product, don’t agree to sign a contract or hand over money at the door; always talk to someone you trust first.
“If you or someone you love are approached by someone you believe to be a rogue trader or bogus official, call our non-emergency number 101 or call 999 if you feel in danger.
“If you or your loved one has already signed a contract or handed over money to one of these door step sellers and you don’t believe they are legitimate, you need to report this to Action Fraud via their website, and contact your bank as soon as possible to prevent any money from leaving your account.
“Remember, this can happen to anyone and there is no need to feel embarrassed. It’s important to report these offences so that action can be taken against those committing them.
“You can find further advice about doorstep sellers on Age UK’s website”
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