The gift card scam you need to be aware of after woman loses over £115,000

Close-up Of Two Businesspeople Exchanging Visiting Card
Millions of pounds are being lost to the scam (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

An 80-year-old pensioner believed she was chatting to her former classmate – the lead guitarist of Deep Purple – but in fact, she was being scammed out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Action Fraud warned that in 2023, £13.5 million were lost in gift card scams. And that is just in the country.

Debbie Horwood knows about these cases all too well – this is how she lost her inheritance.

Her elderly mum, who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, was that victim.

She succumbed to the cunning tactics of fraudsters, resulting in a staggering loss of £115,000.

Debbie described the incident as ‘an emotional rollercoaster’ for her family who is still dealing with the repercussions.

‘All things considerate, my mum is doing really well,’ Debbie told ITV. ‘She has a lot of support and help from the NHS and friends and family.

‘She reached out to one of my brother’s friends to borrow some money, which was an instant red flag to him, so he made my brother aware.

‘We then confronted my mum. She said she was helping a friend with a business transaction.’

Debbie’s mum told her children it was ‘an old friend’, who she named as ‘Ritchie Blackmore’, but this all did not make sense to them.

It transpired that her mum had posted online about cycling to school in Heston with the musician when they were children.


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