A great-grandmother has urged elderly residents to beware of a phone scam after she lost £8,000.

Eileen Fletcher, 88, from Loughton, was called by a fraudster claiming to be Cambridgeshire Police at round 10am on Thursday, September 26.

The caller convinced her to withdraw £4,000 of her savings from Barclays in Epping and then Santander in Loughton, telling her it was counterfeit cash.

She was then told to place the money in a taped up bag, and at around 2pm the same day a man knocked at her door to collect the money.

Recounting the ordeal, Mrs Fletcher said: “They told me they had arrested a man named Elliot Fletcher, they asked if I knew him and I said no. They said the arrested man had been to Barclays bank and paid it straight back, in saying it was counterfeit money.

“They said leave the phone off the hook and withdraw the money, come back and then someone will come to your door and give you a password. The password was ‘Box 123’.

“I did ask them if this was a scam to which they replied, ‘Oh no, we have arrested the man’. But there was no Elliot Fletcher and no one had withdrawn money on their side, it’s all fake.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Mrs Fletcher was told to tell Barclays and Santander banks she was withdrawing money to buy a new car

The man was described by Mrs Fletcher as young Asian man in his 20s who did not make eye contact, instead looking down at the floor.

The 88-year-old said that the caller told her to not tell her bank the real reason for the large withdrawals.

The fraudster told Mrs Fletcher was asked any questions, she should say ‘no’ and tell them the money was being used to buy a new car.

“It wasn’t until Saturday morning and I thought BT is supposed to be stopping scam calls and I then contacted them about it. They have managed to trace the number,” she explained.

“My son came to visit me on Sunday, he just said it’s lucky that I wasn’t hurt and offered to give me the £8,000 and I said don’t worry about it.

“I have lived here for 25 years and want people to be aware of this, I am normally a bright person but somehow, they managed to get me in trance.”

Describing the incident as “very traumatic” Mrs Fletcher said that Essex Police are dealing with the incident and an electrician is installing cameras outside her house later this week.