Elderly Eastbourne lady scammed out of thousands of pounds
Police have issued a warning to residents about scammers after an elderly Eastbourne lady handed over thousands of pounds to a ‘convincing police officer’.
The woman was tricked by scammers pretending to be police officers who said her bank account had been hacked and that she needed to withdraw thousands to then hand over to one of their couriers, who would be at her home later that day.
The scammers said they needed to check the serial numbers on the bank notes as part of their investigation, and the lady handed the cash over as she believed them to be so convincing, according to police.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said they have recently dealt with numerous ‘courier frauds’ where members of the public are contacted by con-artists claiming to be from businesses and asking for money to be handed over.
PC Ed Faulkner, prevention officer for Eastbourne, said “This is a worrying trend that plays on residents fears and worries. When anyone gets a call from someone claiming to be police people instantly worry and fear the worst. Scammers know this and will play on it.
“In this case the victim did what she believed to be right. However, the fraudsters are now so sophisticated they will try to create a culture of secrecy around the call, convincing victims that they shouldn’t disclose what is happening to even their nearest and dearest.
“Official police officers will always welcome you wanting to check their identity, and will always wait for people to be confident that officers are who they say they are. All police officers and staff carry identification with them at all times when on duty.
“If you get a phone call and want to confirm details, members of the public can take the officer’s name and warrant number, hang up, then importantly wait for a dialling tone and call 101 to verify their identity.
“Additionally, no police officer would ever expect you to withdraw money from your account. We work closely with banks and building societies to ensure we keep you as safe as possible. And because of this, when you go to withdraw or transfer sizable amounts of money, there might be more checks made than you are used to. But this is all for the right reasons.
“Scammers are dangerous people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on your money. If you are ever worried about someone knocking on doors or calling you, members of the public can call police or get advice from Action Fraud.”
To contact Action Fraud, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk