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People may laugh, but the Gloria Hunniford scam shows we are all susceptible to cons unless banks beef-up security

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 20/08/2016

Gloria Hunniford
Gloria Hunniford

Inevitably there will be wry amusement in some quarters at the news that someone managed to scam £120,000 from Gloria Hunniford's bank account. After all, she is one of the presenters of the television programme Rip Off Britain. It is the sort of material any comic would dream of.

And to add insult to injury the bank teller who fell for the con-woman's story admitted in court that she didn't even know who Ms Hunniford was. This is a woman who has been a star of television since the 1970s and who makes appearances on the high-profile daytime show Loose Women as well as her Rip Off Britain series.

To those of us in Northern Ireland who are proud of our television stars it seems inconceivable that anyone would not know her.

While Ms Hunniford has been recompensed by her bank for the money, that does not mean that she didn't lose anything. For one thing she has lost her faith in the security of banks.

She, like the rest of us, believed that the safest thing you could do with you money is to put it in the bank. We are constantly bombarded with advice not to keep money at home, but put it in a bank account.

Yet in this case someone who did not bear the slightest resemblance to Miss Hunniford was able to spin a yarn to her bank and gain access to her account.

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TV's Gloria: 'I felt 'violated' after lookalike conwoman swindled me out of £120k'  

There are stories in the media every week of how people are scammed out of their hard-earned cash through all sorts of subterfuges, but it is even more concerning that someone can simply walk into a bank and make off with a substantial amount of money that didn't belong to them.

Little wonder that Ms Hunniford felt violated - it was as if someone had burgled her home.

Clearly, there is a lesson here for banks and other financial institutions to learn - to ensure that their customers' money is as well-protected as possible and that proper checks are made on people to make certain they are who they say they are.

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