Dunkirk veteran lost £70,000 to ruthless post scammers

A Dunkirk veteran’s family has been left devastated after discovering direct mail scammers had conned him out of £70,000 before he died.

Former Royal Engineer Bernard Bannon was targeted by firms who sent him scam mail for seven years.

Many of the brightly coloured letters claimed he had won thousands of pounds in prizes and promised to send a cheque if he paid a fee or bought something from a catalogue. In reality, the winnings did not exist and any money sent was never seen again.

Former Royal Engineer Bernard Bannon was targeted by firms who sent him scam mail for seven years. Over the course of seven years, Mr Bannon – who was evacuated from Dunkirk in a hospital ship and lived alone after his wife Rosaleen died in 1989 – paid out about £70,000 to companies the family didn’t recognise

Former Royal Engineer Bernard Bannon was targeted by firms who sent him scam mail for seven years. Over the course of seven years, Mr Bannon – who was evacuated from Dunkirk in a hospital ship and lived alone after his wife Rosaleen died in 1989 – paid out about £70,000 to companies the family didn’t recognise

Former Royal Engineer Bernard Bannon was targeted by firms who sent him scam mail for seven years. Over the course of seven years, Mr Bannon – who was evacuated from Dunkirk in a hospital ship and lived alone after his wife Rosaleen died in 1989 – paid out about £70,000 to companies the family didn’t recognise

Mr Bannon’s son Lenny, 73, suspected his father was being targeted by scammers, and for the last 18 months of his life, visited his home in Bootle, Liverpool, daily to intercept the post. While there he would field dozens of cold calls from nuisance firms.

But it was not until his father died in 2016 at the age of 98, that Lenny learned the full scale of the damage caused by the letters.

Despite regularly visiting the house, the family found enough scam mail to fill three wheelie bins. There were also cupboards full of unopened packets of biscuits, hand creams and perfume. And when they went through Mr Bannon’s bank statements, they made a devastating discovery. Over the course of seven years, Mr Bannon – who was evacuated from Dunkirk in a hospital ship and lived alone after his wife Rosaleen died in 1989 – paid out about £70,000 to companies the family didn’t recognise.

Mr Bannon’s son Lenny, 73, suspected his father was being targeted by scammers, and for the last 18 months of his life, visited his home in Bootle, Liverpool, daily to intercept the post. While there he would field dozens of cold calls from nuisance firms

Mr Bannon’s son Lenny, 73, suspected his father was being targeted by scammers, and for the last 18 months of his life, visited his home in Bootle, Liverpool, daily to intercept the post. While there he would field dozens of cold calls from nuisance firms

Mr Bannon’s son Lenny, 73, suspected his father was being targeted by scammers, and for the last 18 months of his life, visited his home in Bootle, Liverpool, daily to intercept the post. While there he would field dozens of cold calls from nuisance firms

In one six-month period between October 2012 and March 2013, he paid £7,610 to 30 different firms. He made 31 payments totalling £1,420 to a French company called Phyderma which claimed he could win a £129,052 prize draw.

Fourteen payments totalling £748 went to another firm called Vitamail, the trading name for French firm Promondo, which told him he had won a ‘1st Prize Cheque’ in a draw where the ‘main prize’ was £15,000. The company claimed he needed to order something to receive the cheque and suggested he buy two bottles of ‘circulation cream’ for £34.80.

A firm called Star Shopping pocketed ten payments worth a total of £430. It had sent Mr Bannon a letter claiming he had won £10,000 and only had to order a £12.95 bracelet to get it. He also made 34 payments totalling £1,529 to a firm called Delices et Gourmandises. A company called Tips of Our Gran took another £187.

Lenny Bannon, a retired construction worker who lives with his wife Pat in Aintree, said: ‘I just felt sick when I realised how much money he lost.

‘I hadn’t realised he was in such a bad way because he was so secretive and I felt I should have been keeping a closer eye on him.’

In one six-month period between October 2012 and March 2013, he paid £7,610 to 30 different firms. He made 31 payments totalling £1,420 to a French company called Phyderma which claimed he could win a £129,052 prize draw. Pictured, Mr Bannon in the early 1980s

In one six-month period between October 2012 and March 2013, he paid £7,610 to 30 different firms. He made 31 payments totalling £1,420 to a French company called Phyderma which claimed he could win a £129,052 prize draw. Pictured, Mr Bannon in the early 1980s

In one six-month period between October 2012 and March 2013, he paid £7,610 to 30 different firms. He made 31 payments totalling £1,420 to a French company called Phyderma which claimed he could win a £129,052 prize draw. Pictured, Mr Bannon in the early 1980s

In 2014, Lenny had tried to warn his father’s bank, TSB, that he was being targeted by scammers. TSB cancelled his debit card and issued a new one, but Lenny believes the bank should have spotted the unusual transactions sooner.

When he complained to the Financial Ombudsman, it ruled that TSB could not have known there were concerns about Mr Bannon’s ability to make decisions before December 2014 and awarded just a £100 payment.

The bank also offered to pay Lenny £277 to cover fraudulent payments made after December 2014 but he did not accept the money. The Daily Mail has campaigned for years to highlight the plight of direct mail scam victims.

Our work has led to Royal Mail introducing greater measures to prevent fraudulent mail being delivered, but experts say more needs to be done. Every year, scam mail costs Britons between £5 billion and £10 billion, with the average victim aged 75. On average, they each lose about £3,500.

Last night Louise Baxter, head of the National Trading Standards scams team, said scam mail was tantamount to harassment, adding: ‘Only 5 per cent of these types of scams are reported. This could be because victims feel ashamed or come to see the scammers who call and write as friends.’

TSB said: ‘We were informed about possible fraudulent transactions on the customer’s account when we were contacted by (the Ombudsman) and we arranged for these to be refunded.’

Phyderma said: ‘Our games are legitimate and regulated in strict compliance with European and English law.’ Delices Gourmandises did not respond to a request for comment. Money Mail was unable to reach the other companies for comment.

Anyone concerned about suspicious post should report it to Royal Mail by writing to Freepost Scam Mail or calling 0800 011 3466.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘We are working with industry partners and law enforcement agencies to tackle this issue even more vigorously.’

 

photo link

(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply