Hear Barry's story

Published: 23/05/2016

See how Barry McBarry, a retired teacher and rock climbing instructor, was ScamSmart and recognised the warning signs to avoid losing £5000.

Read the transcript

My name is Barry McBarry, I’m 65 years old; I’m a retired teacher and currently working as a rock climbing instructor. I act as power of attorney for my mother, who owned some shares in a company. We were called to see if we were interested in selling them - we said yes.

The company was a brokerage firm from America and they said they were acting on behalf of a client, who wished to buy the shares to make a hostile takeover bid and they were willing to pay a premium on the shares. 

Their website looked very professional, they dealt with mergers and acquisitions and international currency deals and so on. They spoke very well, they were friendly but professional. 

The deal that they were offering was, perhaps, overly attractive, but they explained the enhanced number of shares that my mother had, saying there had been script issues and rights issues over the years. She had held them a long time and so that was a possibility.

Well I thought I could spot a scam and, for a long time, I couldn’t spot where the scam was and where they were going to make any money out of it.

The deal clincher for me was when they asked for a bond to be placed to ensure that this deal went through; a bond to be placed with a reputable international bank by myself, which amounted to about £5,000. When they asked for money to be placed as a bond, I was very suspicious.

I said to them, “look, you know and I know I haven’t got 4200 shares, there’s no way I can complete this deal, I’m not putting up the bond”, and the phone went dead.

I felt that I have been a bit naïve, maybe a bit gullible and also, perhaps, a bit greedy in that the deal was really too good to be true.

My advice to people who are approached in this way is to immediately be suspicious; it’s highly unlikely that a deal like this would start from a cold call. Hold on tight to your own money and seek professional help.

This whole experience has left me feeling annoyed, a bit guilty, and a little bit perhaps embarrassed that I was almost caught by the scam.