A grandad-of-six was fleeced out of his life savings in the space of two hours by criminals pretending to be from his internet provider.
Distraught Roger Price, 74, of Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire, was left in floods of tears by the incident.
He had worked all his life as a graphic artist before retiring with his wife to spend more time with the family.
He had put money aside each month for his son’s wedding next year and was saving his money for his kids and his grandchildren.
But on December 2, thieves decimated his savings account by taking out more than £9,000.
It left Mr Price feeling foolish that he had been duped by criminals who pretended to be from Virgin Media and promised to fix the speed of his internet connection.
He said : “Everything sounded so genuine. They knew about my Internet and realised it was slow and told me about my speeds.
“They said ‘I was a loyal customer of theirs and we can give you a rebate of £400’ and I swallowed it hook, line and sinker.”
Mr Price received a call from who he thought was Virgin Media at around 10am.
Over the space of two hours, they took control of his computer and told him to turn all the mobile phones in the house off.
They then asked him to put his debit card into his card reader for a refund which gave the fraudsters access to his whole account.
They asked him to do this twice and fleeced him of £3,000 and £6,000 in two transactions.
“I have said dozens of times to my wife there is a lot of scammers out there and I swallowed it all.
“That money was for my son’s wedding, which is next year.
“I sat here on Monday afternoon and actually cried I was so upset.
“It was my money and it was money to give to my kids and grandkids.
“It is coming up to Christmas as well and it has put a dampener on it. I feel like I have let my family down.”
But Mr Price claims the most horrifying part is that Natwest allegedly informed him initially that they were not liable for his losses, but would try to recover the money from the receiving banks on his behalf.
A Natwest spokesperson has since confirmed that Mr Price will be fully reimbursed.
“As far as I am concerned, I did not know I was going to be scammed,” Mr Price said.
“They suck you in and bleed you dry. I am annoyed with the bank. They allowed a £3,000 and £6,000 transaction to go out of my bank without challenging it.”
His son Jonathan Price told Nottinghamshire Live: “My father was none the wiser until he received a call from Natwest to say what had happened.
“Natwest has the name and bank account which the money went into, which was in India.
“On hearing this my dad called the police and Action Fraud as instructed by Natwest. They all confirmed my parents had been the victims of fraud.
“Yesterday, Natwest called my parents to tell them they are refusing to refund the money taken from my parents. Why would Natwest confirm payments to India especially for such a big sum without hearing from my father first?”
But after Nottinghamshire Live contacted Natwest on behalf of Mr Price, they have decided to refund the lost money from his account.
A spokesman for Natwest said: “Having reviewed this case we are fully reimbursing our customer.”
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, is investigating the crime and working with Mr Price.
A spokesman said: “Action Fraud is currently being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Typically, this can take anywhere between four to six weeks.”
Detective Inspector Ed Cook, from Nottinghamshire Police’s Fraud Unit, said: “Fraud is an issue right across the country and we see these scams in Nottinghamshire just like anywhere else.
“Nottinghamshire Police works really hard to educate people on fraud as well as working to find and stop those who look to profit from vulnerable people. It is important to remember, though, that we could all be potential victims.
“Scammers can be incredibly convincing and they are also constantly finding new ways to trick people into handing over their money.
“Luckily we can all protect ourselves by remembering some tips whenever someone calls or contacts you unexpectedly. Remember – it is okay to ask someone over the phone to verify who they are.
“If you get a caller and you are unsure if they are telling the truth, you can hang up the phone and call the business or police force they are claiming to be from in order to establish if this is genuine.
“A genuine business will not try to rush or pressurise you into handing over money.
“If you do become a victim of fraud, it’s really important to report it by calling 101 or by getting in touch with Action Fraud.”