Warning over new text scam after mum almost falls victim

A 71-year-old woman has been targeted by a text scammer who tried to con her out of £1,100.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 3:25 pm
Updated Friday, 29th October 2021, 10:38 am
A woman in Cornhill-on-Tweed has warned people to beware a sophisticated text scam.

Dee Howkins, from Cornill-on-Tweed, was at home when her phone suddenly bleeped last Friday night.

Upon checking the screen, she saw she had a text message from one of her daughters, Katy, who said her mobile was broken and she was using another device which had a different number.

A conversation then ensued between the two, during which Mrs Howkins explained how her daughter might fix her water-damaged phone. But then “Katy” said she had no access to her bank account, and asked for £1,100 to pay some urgent bills.

The bank details sent to Mrs Howkins by the scammer.

Mrs Howkins, a retired nurse practitioner, said: “She signed her messages with kisses, and even used the word ‘yup’, a word she doesn’t use when speaking, but often does in text messages.

"After a few more messages, she then asked if I had time for a chat, so I tried to call her but it rang off. She texted to say the microphone on the new phone was not working, and asked if I could lend her money.

"That is when alarm bells started to ring. Katy is a hard worker, she has two jobs, and she never asks me for money.”

The texter sent their bank details, and asked for £1,100 to be deposited in an account in the name of Gheorghe Bobeica, account number 63193094, with the sort code 04-00-75.

The con artist claimed the microphone on their phone was not working, so Mrs Howkins could not call them back.

Although Mrs Howkins did not recognise the name, the request was still plausible as her daughter works with foreign lorry drivers, one of which might have agreed to allow the cash to be deposited in their account on Katy’s behalf.

But to be on the safe side, she decided to send Katy a Facebook message to double-check, and was stunned to learn she had not been talking to her.

"That is when I realised I had nearly been scammed,” Mrs Howkins said.

She has reported the incident to police and HMRC, which is investigating, but wanted to alert Berwick Advertiser readers in the hope of preventing someone from falling victim.

“I nearly got talked into it, and there are people out there who won’t be aware this is a scam,” she said. “Hopefully they will read what happened to me and not lose any money.”