A BRAZEN conman tried to scam an antique shop in Oxford out of thousands of pounds but was caught red-handed by a vigilant staff member.

Experienced jewellery dealer Andrea Swinton, who works at Antiques On High in the heart of the city, stopped a scammer-in-action as he tried to buy a golden bracelet and a pair of earrings worth £1,600 with a pre-paid credit card that was not his.

Ms Swinton explained she received a call on Friday from a man who wanted to buy a golden bracelet for his mother’s 60th birthday.

When the man came in the store on High Street, she presented a delicate bracelet she had in mind.

Ms Swinton said: “He said that he wanted to spend more money, so I also offered him this golden pair of earrings.

“He kept saying he wanted something high carat and chunkier, which already made me suspicious.

"At the end he decided to purchase both the bracelet and the earrings."

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When the man was handed the card machine he began typing in the long card number of another card, however Ms Swinton stopped him.

Explaining why she was suspicious, the dealer said: "A PIN number for any card is only four digits long,

"I do not understand why you would need to type expiry date plus the long number.

"Even more, he was middle-aged, so I do not understand how his mother was 60."

After Ms Swinton challenged the payment he quickly took the card out and said he would go and get the cash out.

However, the man never came back.

She described the middle-aged man as ‘short, with clean shaven head and a bit chunky’, who had a London accent.

Ms Swinton commented: “It is good for people to be educated on scams like this one as it really happens on regular basis.

“The bottom line is that a lot of employees would not know about it and criminals take advantage of this.”

The jewellery dealer was once before a victim of such a scam, so she instantly recognised the pattern.

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An expensive Cartier watch was sold like this a year ago at the shop and the shop lost £1,750, which Ms Swinton had to cover herself.

Owner of Antiques on High Vincent Page commented: "It is an incredibly simple scam and the shops where the purchases are made are the people that suffer.

"It involves the legitimate owner of the credit or debit card that is being allegedly defrauded.

"When they do not recognise a purchase on their credit card they notify their bank, which in turn withholds the funds from the shop

"This is why we do not accept this type of transaction anymore."

Mr Page added that he has alerted the police about the potential scam.

To find out more about how to protect yourself from fraud visit thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/