Elderly people in Colchester and Wivenhoe targeted by fraudster pretending to be a police officer
- Credit: Archant
Police in Essex are investigating a courier scam where elderly victims were tricked into handing over cash to fraudsters pretending to be police officers.
Police received three reports of fraud in Colchester and Wivenhoe between 4.20pm on Tuesday, October 24, and 7.20pm on Wednesday, October 25.
The victims, two women aged 77 and 90, and a man aged 91, were contacted by a person claiming to be from the Serious Fraud Office who told them there were issues with their bank accounts.
They were asked to withdraw thousands of pounds in cash and were told it would be picked up by a courier before it was forensically examined.
On two of the incidents the money was collected by a courier while in the third the bank grew suspicious and called police before any cash was withdrawn.
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The courier is described as of tanned appearance, aged in his mid-20s, of a slim build with dark hair driving a small red car with a flat back.
The frauds occur just weeks after a spate of similar crimes in Suffolk and Norfolk.
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On Friday, October 6, a couple from Haughley were tricked out of more than £21,000 after being contacted by fake police officers.
Detective Inspector Jim White, of Colchester CID, said: “These fraudsters who are very convincing have deliberately targeted elderly residents and preying on their trust.
“All the victims agreed to go into their banks and withdraw thousands of pounds.
“They were advised to say that they were buying a car for a relative if challenged by bank staff.
“Fortunately, we managed to disrupt one fraud before it took place, however, two people have been conned out of significant sums of money.
“We are urging people to be vigilant and to not fall for these scams.
“If you get a call, end it immediately, do not phone the number back, wait a few minutes to make sure the line is clear and then call 999.
“Under no circumstances will police ever ask anyone for money over the phone.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Colchester police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you suspect a scam you should report it to both the Financial Conduct Authority and Action Fraud.