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SUPER SAVER; Bank girl stops Willie, 74, losing pounds 20k in con.

Byline: By Bob Dow

A SHARP-EYED bank clerk saved a 74-year-old grandad from handing his life savings to fraudsters.

Willie Cumming went to his local Royal Bank branch to send pounds 20,000 to crooks running an oil shares scam in New York. But the teller talked him out of it and called police.

Relieved Willie, pictured below, said yesterday: "If it wasn't for the girl in the bank I would have lost everything.

"I was pretty sure the deal was genuine and that I could make a lot of money.

"But the girl at the bank knew straight away it was a bad idea and wouldn't let me send the money. I was very fortunate I got her that day."

Willie, a retired farm worker, was lured into the scam by a woman with an American accent who called him at home out of the blue and persuaded him to invest in the bogus oil shares.

Police have been tracking the fraud, which has cost victims in Scotland tens of thousands of pounds.

Trusting Willie sent off pounds 3000 and got share certificates in return.

Soon after, the woman rang again and told Willie the shares had rocketed in price.

She persuaded him to send another pounds 20,000 and claimed he could be sitting on pounds 70,000 within months.

Willie went to his bank in his home village of New Deer, Aberdeenshire, to transfer the money but the clerk stepped in to protect him.

"The bank did me a fantastic service," he said.

"They could have just allowed me to send the money.

I can't thank them enough."

The conwoman called Willie later and tried her hard sell again but he refused to bite.

He said: "What they do is pretty dirty but I won't make the same mistake again."

The New Deer branch of the Royal Bank was only recently saved from closure after a campaign by locals.

Regional manager Jenny Moultrie praised the teller and said: "The professionalism and awareness of the staff at New Deer highlight our commitment to providing high standards of service."

Police told Willie he'd had a lucky escape, even though he had lost the pounds 3000 he sent.

Inspector Roddy MacInnes, of the Grampian force, said more and more people were being hit by the shares cam.

He added: "I know people who have lost anything from pounds 20,000 to pounds 90,000 and these are people who aren't daft. A lot of them have followed the stock market for a long time.

"That shows how sophisticated these fraudsters are."

HAVE YOU been caught in this scam? Call our news desk on 0141 309 3251.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 21, 2008
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