Quick-thinking Huddersfield postmaster Mohammed Khan knew there was something odd when an elderly customer asked to send a £2,300 MoneyGram to British Telecom - in CHINA.
On investigating he found his customer was being ripped off by a scammer - and that the man was listening in on the customer’s mobile phone.
Mohammed, 24, who graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a law degree last year, slammed the conman as “heartless” and “deceitful”.
But he persuaded the regular customer to contact his bank and luckily the scam was averted.
“This person had hacked into his savings account, transferred money from that to his current account and then said it was an error by British Telecom and the money needed to be sent back,” said Mohammed.
“It was his own money! In total he was being asked to transfer £5,000 in two amounts: one of £2,300 and then another of £2,700.”
The incident occurred earlier this week at Salendine Nook Post Office in New Hey Road. Mohammed says he was instantly suspicious of a vulnerable person being urged to send a BT payment to China.
“He said he had been told that BT had sent him a £5,000 payment instead of £200 and the money had to be paid back. I asked why and he couldn’t tell me. He just had a piece of paper with a Blackburn number on it.
“Then he said the person was on his mobile phone, still on the line in a live call.
“I knew it was dodgy. I spoke to the person on the phone, who sounded as if he was from an Asian background. He asked who I was and demanded to speak to my customer. I knew that as soon as he got the MoneyGram instruction the money would be gone, so I disconnected the call. The phone kept ringing but I told my customer not to answer it.”
Mohammed is pleased that he saw through the con but remains shocked at the complexity of the scam and the plausibility of the people behind it.
“It’s a very clever scam, heartless and deceitful. It made me very angry. There are people out there who will go to any lengths to take money from the vulnerable. I’m glad I was able to stop it. My advice to anyone who gets a call like this is to talk to their bank and not to send any money.”