Elderly woman loses £18k in scam

Hull & East Yorkshire: People urged not to fall foul of police telephone scam

24 Jun 2015

The public are being urged to make their elderly parents, grandparents and neighbours aware of a national scam where criminals are pretending to be bogus police officers in order to steal from some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The appeal comes after a 68-year-old Hull woman fell foul of the scam and lost around £18,000 on Monday June 22.

She was called by a man purporting to be a police officer from London who was investigating a fraud case involving the victim.

He then said to assist the investigation and protect her money she should withdraw £5000 from her bank and the police would arrange for it to be picked up and protected.

The woman went to the bank, but could only withdraw £2000. A courier then came around and picked up the money.

The woman received a further call from someone claiming to be from the police who advised her to go to a jewellers and buy a watch worth around £16,000 to assist with the investigation. She did this and it was picked up by a courier.

The woman then realised this was a scam and called Humberside Police. An investigation is now underway.

This is a national scam and in Humberside since March there have been over a hundred reports of these bogus police officers calling, mostly targeting elderly people especially in the Hull and East Yorkshire area.

PC Andy Allen, Crime Reduction Officer said: "This incident is a horrendous incident where a woman has been scammed out of large amounts of money by highly believable and unscrupulous criminals. A thorough investigation is ongoing in relation to this offence and the other offences in the force area, while linking into wider regional and national investigations.

“The aim now is to spread awareness of the scam to ensure other people don’t fall victim to this type of incident. Firstly, police would never ask for a member of the public to transfer or hand over money or property to officers as a victim of fraud. If people are unsure I would urge people to call Humberside Police on 101 from a different phone to check whether the call is legitimate or speak to a neighbour. Finally, I would urge everyone to speak to their elderly family and friends about the scam and take steps to avoid falling foul of the offenders.”

What should people do if they are called?
• never give out bank or personal details to strangers 
• don’t hand over money/property or transfer funds to unknown accounts
• If called, use another phone to ring the police to report the incident but do not use your own phone immediately as the offender may be on the line a short time after you have put your phone down.

If people are called as part of this scam they should, where possible, make a note of key details of the call, including the number the bogus caller has rung from before calling Humberside Police on 101. 

A recording of a telephone conversation between a criminal and his victim has been released to the public by Dorset Police to make people aware of how fraudsters are trying to con the elderly out of thousands of pounds.

Use the following link to listen to the footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lDvlZvwZj8