An embarrassed pensioner who was conned out of nearly £10,000 in an elaborate scam has come forward to tell her story in the hope others might be spared a similar fate.
In May the Mitcham resident, who is in her 60s, was approached in London Road, Norbury, by a woman who claimed she had a winning lottery ticket but, as a non-UK resident, was unable to claim the money.
She was later joined by a male accomplice, who posed as a concerned good Samaritan and the pair persuaded the former nurse to take out £5,000 from the bank and part with more than £4,000 worth of jewellery.
The victim was told the lottery winnings would be placed in her bank account, which she would then transfer to the would-be winner who needed to fly home urgently.
Her male accomplice suggested he and the victim leave a deposit with the girl – who claimed she was anxious the pair might make off with her prize.
He handed over a ring he claimed was worth £50,000 and a package he said contained jewellery.
When the victim handed over her jewellery, which she said was of significant sentimental value, and took money out from the bank, the woman feigned an illness and the pair fled.
The victim said that her professional carer’s attitude of compassion and willingness to help someone in need played into the hands of the tricksters.
She said: “She told me her father was dying and that this was her last chance to help him. It reminded me of a difficult time in my life, so I wanted to help”.
She said the scam had meant she lost a lot of her life savings, leading her to fear for her financial independence.
She said: “I do not know what I was thinking. I was hypnotised.
“You learn from your mistakes but it was an expensive lesson. I do not want other people to suffer too.”
Police said the man was a clean-shaven, white, European man, about 5ft 8in, who wore a beige coloured suit.
The woman was about 5ft 5in and wore a beige coloured top, blue jeans and dark coloured hair in a ponytail.
Detective Sergeant Dominic Doyle, of Croydon CID, said: “If people start asking for money and offer to take you to the bank to withdraw money, alarm bells should ring and you should either decline, or call police.
“If someone approaches you randomly with an offer that seems too good to be true, then as we have seen here, it often is.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.