In 2018, Cleveland Police received a report from Action Fraud regarding a man who had become victim to a Bitcoin scam and had lost his life savings amounting to thousands of pounds.
Thanks to a partnership approach involving Cleveland Police, Victim Care and Advice Service (funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger) and the Financial Ombudsman Service, the victim who is in his 70s and is a retired police officer from another Force was compensated 99% of his live savings after two years of enquiries.
Acting Detective Inspector Andy King from the Economic Crime Unit at Cleveland Police said: “This scam was sophisticated and as soon as I read the report, I knew the victim was extremely vulnerable. I visited the victim’s home address with Victim Care Officer, Lottie Dixon from VCAS, and it was clear from our visit that his whole world had fallen apart after becoming a victim to this scam so it was really important that we did everything possible to help them.
“Without the dedication from the VCAS team we would not have achieved this result. Lottie is an exceptional member of staff who worked with and supported the victim throughout this whole process, and helped him get his money back after successfully applying for compensation through the Financial Ombudsman Service Scheme.”
Speaking of the compensation, the victim said: “I really need to mention the input by Lottie from VCAS into this whole nightmare situation which I am now convinced could happen to anyone.
“I fell for this scheme hook line and sinker, which left me in a depressive state of mind that was hard to accept and live with.
“Lottie gave me the strength to carry on, that no one could say the words that give me comfort in the desperation of being scammed, and somehow she was the light at the end of a tunnel that I worked towards.
“A year passed and I got in contact with the Financial Ombudsman Service, who took over the complaint and registered my official claim for compensation.
“Three weeks ago I was informed that they the FOS upheld my claim and I would be fully compensated for my loss. If it were not for the dedication and sheer persistence by Lottie. I would have given up but she gave me the belief I could come out of this situation with a positive result. Thank you so much Lottie.”
Victim Care Officer, Lottie Dixon, added: “It was heart breaking to see the devastating effect this fraud had on the victim, having worked hard all of his life for his savings, to lose them in such a short amount of time with little hope of getting them back.
“Whilst supporting the victim to cope and recover with the impact of the crime, we invited him to speak at our Friends Against Scams presentations about his experience and to help educate people on how easy it can be for anyone to fall victim.
“In doing this he was able to use this negative experience to help others in a positive way. For him to now have been successful in getting this money back is an absolutely amazing result, and I’m delighted for him.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger who funds VCAS said: “This case demonstrates the power of fantastic victim support, which persists long after the individual first contacts the police. I met this victim at a number of fraud prevention events and I know the devastating impact the crime had on his life.
“Lottie’s dedication is a shining example of the work VCAS do every day to go the extra mile for vulnerable people and I’m incredibly proud to commission the service.
“It can be rare for victims of serious fraud to recoup their losses in this way and it’s thanks to Lottie that the gentleman involved in this case can put this challenging time behind him and look forward to a more positive future.”
Posted on Monday 27th July 2020