Yorkshire Post sets up Just Giving page to help great-grandfather conned out of life-savings by evil fraudsters

The Yorkshire Post has set up a Just Giving fundraising page to help a great-grandfather who was conned out of his life-savings by evil fraudsters.

John Thompson, 91, lost almost 15,000 after he was tricked into transferring three payments out of an account he had for more than 50 years.

John Thompson, 91, lost almost £15,000 after he was tricked into transferring three payments out of an account he had for more than 50 years.

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The former police officer, who lives in Sprotbrough, Doncaster, was contacted by a man claiming to be from the security department of his bank.

Mr Thompson uses free call blocking software on his landline which can be sued to screen out unwanted telephone calls, but the scammers used sophisticated methods to make it look like they were calling from his bank's local branch number.

After reading Crime Correspondent Lucy Leeson's article on Mr Thompson's traumatic experience, Yorkshire Post Editor James Mitchinson decided to help the pensioner and prove to him there are good people in the world.

Mr Mitchinson said: "I was absolutely appalled to read about Mr Thompson having been conned out of his life savings. Money that he worked hard for, taken by people who will probably never work an honest day in their lives.

"I felt I needed to at least try to prove to him that there are good people in the world, Yorkshire probably more so than anywhere else, and so I hope the county - and beyond - will get behind our appeal.

"I know we may not be able to generate the full amount for John, but every and any gesture will help to restore his faith. So, regardless of where this ends up, even if we fall short of the money John has lost, I hope we can at least show him that some people still care about being kind to others.

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"And who knows; if we surpass even our own expectations perhaps this will help raise some awareness amongst other vulnerable people who are as susceptible to the deceitful criminals as he discovered he was."

Mr Thompson spoke out about the scam in a bid to stop others falling victim to fraudsters.

"First of all I put the phone down because I thought it could be a scam," Mr Thompson said.

"Then about 20 minutes later the phone rang again and the chap said he was the bank manager at the Doncaster branch."

On this call, the "bank manager" told Mr Thompson there had been a security breach on his account and he needed to transfer his funds into a new, safer account. The man was able to give him personal information including his account balance, most recent payments and even his late mother's maiden name.

Mr Thompson went on to transfer a total of £14,700.

"I realised, after I sat down and thought about it, that it could be a scam," said Mr Thompson, who was an assistant inspector with Kenya Police in the 1950s.

"I called in to my local branch the following day and sure enough, they informed me it was a scam."

Unfortunately, despite a number of meetings, letters and phone calls, Mr Thompson has been unable to get a refund for his loss from the bank as it is seen as an 'Authorised Push Payment', meaning he had moved the money himself rather than it being stolen out of his account.

He said: "I do feel rather foolish to think I did this and it was a scam - but they were so convincing.

I'm not a young man any more - I turned 91 last week. If speaking out helps one other person from falling for the same thing then I'll be pleased I've done it."

Anyone wishing to donate to the Just Giving page can do so by clicking here.