Fraudsters scam £4k from elderly Hove woman

Posted On 20 Sep 2021 at 5:45 pm

Fraudsters conned an elderly woman from Hove out of £4,000, one of a number of recent cases prompting a warning from Sussex Police.

The force said: “On Wednesday 8 September a Hove resident in her nineties was rung by someone claiming to be from her bank, requiring her to give her bank card to a courier as there had been fraudulent activity on her account.

“She gave the card to a woman who called at the address soon afterwards and later found that £4,000 had been taken from the account.”

The victim was among dozens of people who have been targeted by “courier fraud” crooks in Brighton and Hove since the start of the year, Sussex Police said today (Monday 20 September).

Almost 70 cases in Brighton and Hove alone are understood to have left local victims hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket in total.

Across Sussex as a whole, almost 400 cases have been reported, costing vulnerable victims more than £1.5 million.

The force said: “Residents are being urged to stay alert following cases of courier fraud being reported in Sussex.

“The warning comes as a new national social media campaign is launched by Action Fraud, with victims nationwide reporting a total loss of over £10 million so far this year.

“Courier or impersonator fraud is when a fraudster calls the victim pretending to be from the police or a bank and asks for money under false pretences of many kinds.

“They will arrange for someone to pick up the money from the victim’s home, leaving the victim out of pocket.

“Many recent cases have involved the suspect taking the victim’s bank card and withdrawing money from their account.

“This year so far, Sussex Police have seen 392 reports of this type of fraud against vulnerable victims, with a total loss of £1.54 million.

“Fifty-seven per cent of the victims lived alone and 78 per cent of victims were aged 60 or over.

“The majority of victims used bank transfer, had their bank cards collected and handed over cash sums to the fraudsters.”

The police said that 67, reports came from Brighton and Hove, 127 from East Sussex and 198 from West Sussex.

PC Bernadette Lawrie

Sussex Police added: “On Thursday 19 August a Horsham couple were rung by someone claiming to be from their bank who spent some hours convincing them that they must give up their debit and credit cards for a similar reason.

“They duly handed them to a woman who called at the door.

“Fortunately, their son happened to visit soon afterwards, quickly realised it was a scam and got the cards cancelled.

“However, it transpires that in the meantime the card had been used four times in barely ten minutes, withdrawing £2,000.”

PC Bernadette Lawrie, a specialist officer, said: “Criminals continue to exploit people through this appalling method and we are urging the public to be cautious of unexpected phone calls from people asking for personal information.

“If you have an older family member, we urge you to talk them through these tips for keeping safe from courier fraud.

“Many residents are successful in spotting this sort of approach and do not part with anything. So far this year we have had 265 reports across Sussex in which the attempts have failed thanks to alert residents.”

She urged people to

  • act with care when unsolicited callers phone, email or come to the door
  • remember that the police and banks never ask people to withdraw money or hand over their bank cards
  • never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller, even if they tell you that the account is in your name
  • check that the phone line has properly disconnected before making another call and to wait five minutes after a suspicious call before making another call
  • never share a PIN (personal identification number) or enter a PIN into a telephone
  • never withdraw money and hand it to a courier or anyone who comes to the door
  • never give bank cards to a courier or anyone who comes to the door
  • pass this advice on to loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable

She added: “If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, you can report information online or by calling 101, but always call 999 in an emergency.

“For more information and advice about fraud, please visit our special Operation Signature website for advice.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I rang up Trading Standards about a firm called Trademark which told me I had to spend £35,000 on a new roof. Trading Standards told me to order these people off the premises and not pay them anything. In the meanwhile, I had also called in a building surveyor

    What’s more, Trademark was part of the CheckATrade list, to whom firms pay to be listed upon: it is meaningless, and needs reporting.

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