POLICE are urging the community to be aware of scam emails and phone calls after an elderly man transferred £1,000 from his account believing his friend was in trouble and needed the cash.
The 92-year-old received an email he thought was from his friend in Eastbourne which claimed he was in Spain and needed the sum of money after losing all his personal items. The victim transferred £1,000 via Western Union in good faith to what he thought was his friend but it then transpired his pal’s email address had been hacked into and used by a scam artist. The fraudster then emailed the victim back the same day asking for more money. The man thought this was strange and rang his friend only to discover he was still in Eastbourne and not abroad.
In another case a pensioner was phoned several times a day by a man in India asking him to send money via Western Union and that he would then receive a payout of £12,000. The man sent several payments totalling £2,350
but never received the promised payout.
PC Victoria Pidgley from East Sussex Response Investigation Team said, “I have recently dealt with victims who have been conned into parting with significant sums of money by individuals claiming to be from an internet company or a tax company and asking them to transfer money using Western Union in order to then receive a larger payout.
“Western Union is a reputable company allowing people to send cash all across the world without using bank accounts. However, scam artists favour this way as it is hard for police to trace them once it has gone out of the country.
“Please advise your elderly friends and relatives to not take anything at face value and never transfer money to people who contact them out of the blue by phone, email or face-to-face.”