Woodbridge: Warning after woman has stroke following bogus telephone call

A WOMAN who suffered a stroke after being targeted by a bogus telephone caller who conned her out of �600 is warning others about the scam.

Margaret Ashby, of Melton Hill, Woodbridge, also thanked doctors and nurses at Ipswich Hospital who looked after her when she fell ill.

Mrs Ashby lost �612 following a telephone call from someone claiming to be from VISA. With his convincing sales pitch, the caller persuaded her he was legitimate and she handed over card details.

She claims the stress of the call, and the subsequent worry of trying to get back her money, caused her to have a mini-stroke last weekend.

Mrs Ashby said: “I want to make people aware because it was quite convincing. A gentleman with an American accent called and said he was from VISA headquarters.

“He said, because I was such a good user of my card, that I had won a prize.

“He gave me a phone number and immediately lulled me into a false sense of security, reading through all my details – address, date of birth, everything. He read out the first eight digits of my card and they were correct and he then asked me to confirm the rest. At this time I didn’t realise that the first eight digits of everyone’s cards are the same, so I gave him the details.

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“He then mentioned the prize again – some place in Orlando that he was desperate to let out – and said I would have to pay �612 in taxes. I said to him that I didn’t want to do it but by then of course it was too late.”

The caller then said he wanted to record the conversation with Mrs Ashby and passed her on to a trainee. More questions followed, which Mrs Ashby refused to answer and she eventually hung up.

The next day she had another call from someone claiming to be from VISA asking her if she had received a package and she was later sent a convincing-looking letter in the post.

The original call was received in the middle of last month and Mrs Ashby has spent the intervening weeks contacting trading standards, her bank and the financial ombudsman trying to get her money back. But believes the stress and worry caused her to have a mini- stroke and she lost the use of her right hand.

She went to see her GP and they referred her to Ipswich Hospital for treatment.

“I was called into the hospital right away and they did a lot of tests,” she said. “I can’t thank them enough. It was a marvellous system. They deserve a lot of credit.”