Pen­sion­ers fleeced by scams

Thou­sands of pounds are lost as fraud­sters tar­get el­derly in spate of courier cons

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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