Staff at a Hove bank prevented an 82-year-old customer from handing over £10,000 to fraudsters this week.
The pensioner was phoned at 2pm on Wednesday (4 March) by a man claiming to be a police officer.
He told the pensioner to withdraw £10,000 and to keep the caller on the line so that the bank transaction could be heard.
He was also told that his car was going to be monitored by a plain-clothes officer.
But staff at the Hove branch of HSBC spoke to the man and he realised that he was being scammed.
They called Sussex Police who praised them and asked other bank and taxi staff to help tackle this type of fraud and protect vulnerable people.
The force said: “There has been a rise in telephone and courier scams in which the victim receives a phone call from a person claiming to be from the police or the victim’s bank.
“The offender tries to convince the victim that money has been taken from their accounts and that they should either contact 999 or their bank.
“They then stay on the line and ask the victim to withdraw cash from their banks or hand over their cards to a courier.”
Similar scams had been thwarted in Uckfield and Storrington during the week, Sussex Police said, thanks to an alert taxi driver and staff member at a branch of Barclays.
Detective Inspector Rob Morland said: “Thankfully the taxi driver and several members of staff from banks have become suspicious about this sort of transaction and prevented victims handing over their money.
“The callers convince the victims that staff at their banks are in on the scam and that they are helping police by taking the money out of their accounts.
“We need to work together to keep vulnerable people safe. Everyone can do their bit to try to prevent these offences happening.
“Please spread the word and look out for any suspicious activity – not all victims will keep their mobile phones with them in the bank but they may be acting nervously.
“Police officers or bank staff will never ask for your details over the phone and will not ask you take out money.
“If you have any suspicions about a phone call, please do not use the phone they have called you on to contact the police or the bank.
“If possible use another phone to report you concerns or contact a friend or relative.”
For online advice on fraud prevention, click here.
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