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Quick thinking Westferry Cars controller saves Isle of Dogs OAP losing life savings

PUBLISHED: 18:57 05 August 2013 | UPDATED: 18:57 05 August 2013

The controller of a minicab firm in London's East End has been hailed a hero after saving a 92-year-old woman from having her life savings stolen.

Jan Townsend realised something was wrong when the pensioner rang Westferry Cars on the Isle of Dogs—after an identical scamming incident involving the firm only days before.

The pensioner asked for a minicab urgently to take her to her bank at Poplar’s Chrisp Street Market.

“She told me she had to draw out all her savings,” Jan recalled.

“It sounded suspicious and I asked her why. I knew it was a scam after the same thing happened to another pensioner.”

The woman targeted in the latest incident had received a call saying it was Hammersmith police who had arrested someone trying to scam her debit card and telling her to get to the bank quickly to get her money out to be used as evidence.

“It was obviously a scam,” Jan added. “The police would never tell you to withdraw your savings.”

Jan didn’t want the pensioner to panic and told her a car was on the way—then called police immediately.

“I was in a panic to stop this old girl getting her money out,” she said. “Thankfully the police got to her house in 20 minutes and prevented her being scammed.”

Jan, 61, was alerted following a previous incident days before when another pensioner on the Isle of Dogs, in her eighties, was being targeted who was actually taken to her bank to withdraw her savings—but it was the bank staff who a smelt a rat and called police in time.

Now, following the latest incident last Tuesday, the car firm is introducing new practice to check when pensioners say they need a car to take them to the bank—to make sure they are not being conned.

The woman’s nephew, Simon Lucas, said: “My aunt was saved from losing her life’s savings by the quick actions of the minicab controller.

“We are so grateful for her quick thinking—the police at Limehouse are also to be praised for the fast response.”

Officers calling at the pensioner’s home in Cubitt Town later visited the minicab office in Millwall’s Quarterdeck to thank Jan for he quick action.

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