A pensioner was left ‘hysterical’ after realising he was the victim of a cruel test and trace scam last Friday (July 9).
Ben Muldoon was out buying a paper from Tesco Express in Peckham Rye when a woman approached him and told him off for not completing his Test and Trace.
READ MORE:Calls for more online safety measures as number of scams surges during coronavirus pandemic
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Keen to quickly correct his mistake, the 76-year-old followed the woman’s instructions and inserted his bank card into the cashpoint.
To his horror, the machine swallowed Ben’s card and he was told to insert a second card to resolve this – which also became stuck inside the machine.
Panicked by the situation, Ben knew something wasn’t quite right and he began to hysterically shout for help as the woman ran away.
(Image: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
Luckily Tesco staff and security rushed to help Ben but within 20 minutes, £1,300 had been stolen from his bank cards.
Ben’s daughter, Sarah Ward Muldoon told My London: “After it happened, Dad was quite affected by it. He wouldn’t go out of our house again by himself which is really unusual for him because he’s quite an independent fella.
“He goes out all the time, but he didn’t want to go back out after that. He was pretty sad about it and said it was the first time he realised that people looked at him and saw him as a vulnerable person that could be victimised.”
Ben, who was a highly respected teacher in classics, was visiting Sarah and her family for the first time since Christmas 2019 because of the pandemic.
He and his wife travelled from Scotland and were staying in Sarah’s new home as she had just moved from East Dulwich to Peckham Rye.
Sarah has lived in the area for seven years now, and has always loved South London. But the incident has left a sour taste in her mouth.
She added: ” It was meant to be a nice trip for them to come and see our new home, so it was quite sad to move to a new place only for my parents to come here and be victimised in the new neighbourhood I’m trying to proudly show off.
“It’s pretty gutting.”
‘They took advantage’
Sarah describes her father as a ‘very smart guy with lots of degrees’ who is good at sussing out hairy situations.
She explained: “Dad’s not someone who’s silly or foolish, he’s naturally quite suspicious and wary of people. So it was really unusual for him to be caught out by something like this.
“T hey took advantage over the fact that he’s naïve about modern technology and doesn’t have a smart phone, so he doesn’t get how test and trace works.”
Ben and his wife are in the process of getting his money back from the banks, which Sarah has described ‘as a massive amount of money’ for two retirees.
Sarah hopes by sharing her father’s story, she can raise awareness over the test and trace scams people can so easily become victims of.
Met police told My London no arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.
Have you been a victim of a test and trace scam? Contact Ruby at [email protected]