'Despicable and callous' courier fraudsters con elderly couples out of £29,000

Suffolk victims lost �28.5million to fraud in one year. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Three elderly couples have been conned out of £29,000 by fraudsters in Essex - Credit: PA

Three elderly couples in Essex have been conned out of more than £29,000 by "despicable" courier fraudsters - prompting calls for people to be vigilant. 

In each of the three cases, the criminals claimed to be police officers investigating counterfeit money at a bank. 

The fraudsters persuaded their victims, all aged in their 80s, to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts,  and a courier was then sent to collect the cash from their homes. 

Two couples in Frinton and Walton-on-the-Naze were targeted on January 8, and a couple in Frinton received a similar call on January 5. 

The fraudsters took more than £29,000 in total, Essex Police said. 

MORE: Criminals forced to pay back cash

Detective Sergeant Michael Evans, of Clacton CID, said: “These criminals are callous and despicable, taking advantage of people’s trust to take their life savings.

“We are continuing our enquiries to find those responsible and urge anyone who has received similar phone calls to please contact us.

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“I also ask people to please be vigilant, as these fraudsters are very persuasive."

DS Evans urged to people to challenge anyone who asks for personal financial information. 

“Police officers, law enforcement agencies and banks will never ask you to send money, bank cards or other personal property via a courier, taxi or other means," he said. 

“They will also never ask for your bank account details or PIN over the phone, so please don’t disclose these to anyone.

“Challenge anyone who asks you for this – a genuine caller will not mind. If you are suspicious the caller is not genuine, end the phone call.

“Wait at least five minutes to ring your bank to check with them the validity of the call, or use another phone, as fraudsters can wait on the line.

“Report any suspicious calls to us so we can investigate."

Essex Police can be contacted online here and people can also use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm. 

The force can also be contacted by calling 101. 

Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via the online form on the charity's website here

For more advice on identifying the signs of fraud, click here