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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian OAP conned out of life savings by fraudsters

A vulnerable pensioner has lost £7,000 of his life savings after being duped by fraudsters.

Eric Pape photo
Eric Pape

Eric Pape, of Sowerby Court, Denton Holme, Carlisle, has been bombarded with thousands of letters from across the world promising him millions of pounds in cash – and over six years his replies have cost him £7,000.

The widower, 79, said: “I keep getting letters telling me I’ve won millions of pounds and I need to send so much money to them to release it.

“Over the past six years I’ve fallen £7,000 in debt.

“They’re very convincing, but now I know I’m being told lies.”

The letters – eight of which dropped through Mr Pape’s door yesterday morning – have been sent from America, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Australia, among others, and he takes a bin bag full to the tip every six weeks.

The pensioner has been a victim of “advance fee” fraud. The letters claim he has won money or that the sender is a psychic who can help him come into money.

“I send them off a cheque, anything from £20 to £50,” he said. “I sent two off about three weeks ago to some psychics.

“I can’t afford the £7,000, I’m 79 years old and I’m a pensioner.”

“They look so realistic and I want to warn other people.”

Mr Pape, who lost his wife in a car crash in 1974, has survived seven heart attacks and a broken neck.

He said: “I’m going to have to find £7,000 from somewhere but I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve had to take a loan from my bank and I’m hoping I can win on the lottery so that’s been costing me every week.

A spokesperson for Cumbria Trading Standards said: “These mailing scams are often targeted at elderly or vulnerable residents in our communities.

“Our message is to simply ignore them.

“If you have been a victim or need further advice, please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Action Fraud, run by The National Fraud Authority, can be accessed at www.actionfraud.org.uk or on 0300 1232040.

Inspector Tony Quinn of Cumbria Police said: “I would advise anyone who receives a letter or phone call that they think is suspect or fraudulent not to enter into any agreements or transactions, and let the police know of any requests for money or bank details”

“Fraudsters like these prey on the most vulnerable so look out for friends, family and neighbours.”

Have your say

My elderly father was targeted, once someone replies to these scams their addresses are sold on to other crooks who pray on the vulnerable. It is impossible to stop, even if you get the mail re-directed they find a way out of it, by misspelling the name etc.

Posted by Julie on 24 July 2010 at 12:41

I dont believe it. No one could dribble that much money away without a positive response to keep it going. Why does the story come out now, years later and 7K wasted. Does he want some kind soul to give him money?

Posted by Charlie on 23 July 2010 at 21:57

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