York father scammed out of £12k says ‘people like me never think we’ll be targeted’

A father from York who lost more than £12,000 to a scam advertised on Facebook said: “People like me never think we’ll be targeted”.

George Summerson, 41, said the advert looked like a news article and claimed This Morning stars Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby had put money into a crypto currency investment scheme.

The civil servant, who wanted to make extra money to support his family following the birth of his second child, filled in an online form and agreed to invest thousands.

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He spoke to his account manager, called Marcus, on a daily basis over the phone and it looked like he was earning a large profit.

George SummersonGeorge Summerson
George Summerson

He eventually realised he had been scammed when he attempted to withdraw his money.

“I know when something seems too good to be true it probably is but it seemed so genuine. He kept saying how it’s my money, he can’t touch it and he doesn’t make money unless I do,” he said.

“I never thought this would happen to me.

“I know about internet security and I’m not elderly or vulnerable. I even alert my mum so she doesn’t fall for them. I know my way around a smartphone and people like me never think we’ll be targeted.”

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Mr Summerson said his bank questioned one of the bank transfers, but he was not concerned.

“Marcus told me banks will do this because they don’t want people buying crypto currency,” he said. “I just relayed everything he told me.

“So when I alerted them that I’d been scammed, they advised me there was nothing they could do as they believed they had done everything possible to prevent it.”

Fraud lawyers at CEL Solicitors took his case to the Financial Ombudsman and recouped more than £10,500 from his bank.

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Managing Director Paul Hampson said: “The level of sophistication in some scams is startling. Criminals are making defrauding people a full-time job, putting hours in a day to deceive people out of their hard-earned money.

“Fraudsters are building relationships and trust with their victims, which makes the con all the more distressing when the target learns the truth.

“It’s a difficult lesson to learn, especially when banks and other authorities don’t jump in to help right away, which is why legal support is often advised.”

In November, a House of Lords committee found fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in England and Wales, costing victims around £4bn a year, but law enforcement agencies are “chronically underfunded for the fight”.