Pensioners fleeced by scams
Thousands of pounds are lost as fraudsters target elderly in spate of courier cons
Residents in Chiltern and South Bucks are being told to be vigilant after a spate of incidents have left some victims conned out of their life savings.
Since last month, there have been at least 10 incidents of this type of fraud, with the majority occurring in and around the Beaconsfield area.
In a number of cases, the offenders have claimed to be police officers investigating reports of counterfeit notes.
On July 14 an elderly woman from Chalfont St Peter received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a police officer.
He told the 85-year-old that her local bank was producing counterfeit notes and that she needed to go to the branch to withdraw £5,000 in cash, which she did.
Upon returning home, she telephoned the caller, as requested, and he asked her to read out some of the serial numbers of the notes withdrawn.
The caller told her they were all counterfeit and that he would be sending someone over to collect them to take back to Scotland Yard where they would be investigated.
A short time later, a man appeared at her front door and she handed over the cash. On July 11, another elderly woman from Beaconsfield received a call from a man claiming to be Detective Hart who informed her that there had been suspicious activity on her bank account and she needed to go to her bank.
When she refused to walk to her bank, the man said he would send over a taxi which she declined. Nothing was taken during this incident.
And on July 4 an 89-yearold man from Beaconsfield was scammed out of £10,000 after he too was contacted by a man claiming to be Detective Hart who said he was from New Scotland Yard Serious Fraud Office.
The caller told the victim that his local bank was under investigation due to counterfeit notes being given out by staff.
The victim was convinced to withdraw the cash to see whether it was counterfeit and was told to say he was buying a classic car if questioned by the bank cashier.
A man later called at the victim’s door and the cash was handed over. In some of the cases, victims were led to believe that the caller was genuine as they offered a number for them to call them back on, usually 161, a line which had been kept open by the conmen.
PC Iain Torbet from Local CID at Taplow, said: “These are despicable crimes involving the elderly and more vulnerable in our communities. The scam is widespread in other areas in Thames Valley and further afield being affected in the same way. It is important that people follow suitable crime prevention advice to avoid becoming a victim.”
The most important three things to remember are:
Your bank and/or the police will never ask for your PIN.
Your bank will never attend your home to deliver a replacement card or to collect cash.
Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card.
There are a number of variations to the scam, including:
Fraudsters who pretend to be from the police coldcalling members of the public and telling them that their bank account has been compromised by criminals. The fraudster suggests that the person should transfer their bank balance into a ‘safe’ police bank account.
Fraudsters pretending to be from the police attending people’s addresses and retrieving the person’s card and PIN.
Fraudsters calling the victims and telling them to withdraw large amounts of money from their bank accounts, put it in an envelope, and hand this over to a courier who would call at their home.
The fraudster tells the victim this is necessary as there are corrupt staff at the bank, and not to speak to anyone when they withdraw the money.
If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via the Action Fraud website. In an emergency, dial 999.