By Lyndsey Hall
An accountant has been jailed for eighteen months after falling for a phishing scam and sending £150,000 of a business friend’s money to a Nigerian fraudster.
Brian Ridpath, a seventy-nine year old Chartered Accountant from Willesborough in Kent, met “Lisa Johnson” online and entered into a relationship with the scammer. Soon, he was persuaded to send hundreds of thousands of pounds, including the proceeds of the sale of his house and money borrowed from a business friend.
“Lisa” convinced Ridpath that she was waiting on a deal with China that would pay $640,000 and she needed to borrow £30,000 until the funds cleared. Soon afterwards, she started asking for more money, insisting that she had several hundred thousand pounds in bank accounts in Nigeria, where she worked. She even claimed that her passport had been seized and her hotel bills needed to be paid.
When Ridpath continued to ask for further loans, his friend alerted the police who began to investigate “Lisa Johnson”. On seizing Ridpath’s computer, the authorities realised that the accountant had been duped by a scam and had lied to his friend about knowing the woman who he was sending funds to.
Unfortunately, Ridpath’s story is all too common. We regularly hear from clients that they have received phishing emails, whether purporting to be from HMRC or a fraudster asking for cash. Our advice is always to delete such emails, do not click on any links or send any personal details. HMRC will never request account details by email or send links to pages where you need to submit personal information.
What do you think about the judge’s decision to jail Ridpath for 18 months? Was he complicit in a crime, or just a naïve and easily manipulated victim? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.
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