Gloria Hunniford has said she felt "violated" after an imposter managed to drain her bank account of £120,000. The Rip Off Britain presenter said her trust in her bank was shattered and she could not have foreseen the scam.
A woman who claimed to be the 76-year-old TV star walked into the Santander branch of Croydon North End with two other people posing as her daughter and grandson.
She brandished a fake ID and bank card in the name of Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford – the presenter's full name – and said she wanted to hand control of some of her funds to her grandson.
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Gloria Hunniford said she felt "violated" after she lost her savings
Gloria, 76, has spoken out after the incident, telling the Evening Standard: "If my husband or one of my two sons went into my bank and said they wanted to be a co-signatory I'd expect very thorough checks. But in this case somebody was able to go to the bank with a copy of a driving licence or something.
"I didn't understand it from the off. I felt completely violated. These were my savings. You expect your money to be safe in a bank but it is not. I am left with no trust. You think anybody can walk into a bank pretending to be someone else and get it all signed over."
Gloria, whose presenting job gives her an insight into scammers' methods, added: "Banks give out advice all the time on scamming but the one piece of advice I think they need to pick up on is that their own security checks have to be stronger."
Am imposter pretended to be the 76-year-old TV star
The incident took place in early June when a woman, who has still not been identified or located, managed to convince personal banker Aysha Davies, 28, that she wanted her "grandson" to become an extra signatory on her account. She said she had "a few bob" in the bank.
Aysha helped them complete the paperwork and a total of £120,000 was subsequently taken from Gloria's account.
On Friday a court heard that Santander had reimbursed the TV star's account.
Police are still looking for Gloria's imposter
Aysha was accused of being a part of the scheme, but later acquitted as she told jurors: "The name on the ID card was Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford, and sorry to be stereotypical but this lady looked like a Mary. I had to Google Gloria Hunniford and even if I passed her on the street I wouldn't recognise her because she's not from my time."
Prosecutor Sheilagh Davies said: "But she's pretty famous." Jurors giggled when Aysha replied: "In your opinion."
Meanwhile Alan Dowie, 18, who posed as Gloria's grandson, was given an 18-month term of detention, suspended for two years.
"You are not going inside today," said judge Timothy Pontius. "I don't think it would be right to deprive you of a golden opportunity to go to university, get a degree and pursue a productive, honest life in your chosen career."