A mum from Southend in Essex has been scammed out of £100 after she fell for a fraudster’s letter telling her that all new plastic £5 notes have been recalled by the Bank of England. 

According to 24-year-old Michelle Barrington, she received a letter last week saying that Big Ben would need to be removed from the note’s design as the bell won’t be chiming for four years, and an address was provided where notes could be sent for ‘an immediate exchange.’

She added: ‘I looked around my whole house and found £100 in new £5 notes, and they provided an address in Lowestoft for the notes to be sent to.’

Michelle has been told by the Bank of England that she won’t be able to reclaim her money.

‘The letter said that I would receive the replacement notes within 48 hours, but I’ve had nothing yet and the email address for enquiries doesn’t work as it doesn’t have an ‘@’ symbol.’

‘Money is always tight for me and I can’t afford to lose so much money in one hit. I’ve tried phoning the Bank of England in London and they aren’t interested in helping me.’

‘All they said was that there is no Bank of England note processing facility in Lowestoft, and thinking about it that makes a lot of sense.’

‘I’ve been there a few times. It doesn’t look like the kind of place where you would see that sort of thing as it’s mainly a beach and branches of Poundland.’

A spokesperson for Fraud Squad UK said: ‘If members of the public have any concerns about bank notes being invalid, we would encourage them to take them into their nearest bank.’

‘A similar scam has operated in the past where a letter is received to say that debit cards need to be sent to an address in Bangalore with their PIN number for security integrity checks.’

‘In 99.5% of cases these are fraudulent as well.’