Gloria Hunniford has opened up for the first time about being scammed by a terrible look-a-like who pinched £120,000 from her bank account.
It emerged last week that a thief posed as the 76-year-old presenter of Rip Off Britain at a branch of Santander in Croydon, North End. The not-quite-look-a-like had an ID and a bank card with the name Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford.
She wanted to make her fake-grandson an extra signatory on the account, as she claimed she had been ill, and wanted him to enjoy the “few bob” in the account.
“It was safely tucked away as I thought, and it’s easier for four strangers to go into the bank and get my money, than it is for me to ring the bank because when I do, I’ve got to answer eight or nine really obscure security questions,” the real Gloria told Loose Women.
“The whole account was just signed over to who she said was her grandson. I know scammers are very, very clever these days, but the thing is she said her daughter was with her and, sadly, I don’t have my daughter anymore. I don’t understand any of it.”
Gloria added that it was the bank of the ‘grandson’ that had alerted Santander who, in turn, told her and have since reimbursed the cash stolen, but the Loose Women panellist noted that she still felt “violated” by the whole incident.
“You’re sitting at home, thinking your money is safely locked away in a savings account. I don’t do banking online, so if it had been an account I’d been using every day, I might have understood it,” she explained.
“My opinion is that banks will have to up their security tactics. They’ve nothing to give you these days, no interest to give for savings, and the only thing they have to offer is trustability, safety and the knowledge that you can trust your bank.
“From my point of view, I have lost all faith in banks, because there is nothing I could have done about this, I was a sitting duck.”
Both the fake Gloria and her ‘daughter’ have yet to be apprehended, but the ‘grandson’ Alan Dowie, 18, was caught and is due to be sentenced.
He’ll be sentenced alongside Reyon Dillon, also 18, who laundered some of the cash from the scam. It’s thought around £80k of the money went into Rolex watches, suggesting an excessive desperation to know the time.