Police hunt for female fraudster
A CALM and professional fraudster has conned more than £100,000 from banks across the region using false passports and stolen account details.Detectives believe the trickster, who has targeted unnamed branches across Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Woodbridge, Lowestoft, Haverhill and Mildenhall, may be working in a gang and have launched an urgent appeal to trace her – before she steals any more cash.
A CALM and professional fraudster has conned more than £100,000 from banks across the region using false passports and stolen account details.
Detectives believe the trickster, who has targeted unnamed branches across Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Woodbridge, Lowestoft, Haverhill and Mildenhall, may be working in a gang and have launched an urgent appeal to trace her - before she steals any more cash.
The woman has been hitting banks since 2003, and it is believed she has carried out 11 thefts in Suffolk in the last two years, along with additional scams in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
At most, she has taken £10,000 in a single transaction, and once targeted three branches in two days, netting £20,000.
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Officers investigating her string of crimes say her knowledge of people's accounts, along with her professional manner, make her appear convincing and plausible when approaching bank staff.
"This woman is fairly calm, collected and professional in what she does and gets past all the tellers, and sometimes managers, with ease, producing false passports and quite intimate details of people's accounts," said Detective Constable John Gibbens, of Suffolk police.
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"She normally 'power dresses' and also speaks very well, and this shows how professional she is, as she works without arousing suspicion at all.
"She is very confident and has a lot of knowledge of these accounts.
"She is getting access to legitimate cards and passports with her picture on them, which makes it very difficult.
"We know for certain in our county she has taken £40,000, and assuming she has done the same in other counties she has probably now taken in excess of £100,000."
The accounts targeted by the woman and her counterparts belong mostly to people living in London, and detectives do not yet know if she lives locally or is travelling to the area to carry out the thefts.
"These jobs are quite old, but it has taken some time for us to pin together the fact there has been a serious offender working across counties," added DC Gibbens.
"We would advise account holders to check their accounts regularly, because if people only check monthly it can set the inquiry back by at least a month, and by that time CCTV footage has usually gone."
DC Gibbens also appealed for anyone who had sent off for a passport, which had then not arrived, to contact the police.
"This woman comes across as very plausible when she visits the banks, and has been undeterred when any of the bank staff have queried her transaction," said Pc James Harper, of Sudbury CID.
"We are collating information from around the county and so far have incidents from Sudbury, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Mildenhall, Woodbridge and Lowestoft.
"We are also liasing with neighbouring forces who have reports of similar incidents."
Officers said bank staff had become suspicious on two occasions, with the woman leaving the premises while tellers were checking the details on her passport.
The woman is white, aged between 25 and 30-years-old and has blond hair.
Anyone who has any information in relation to the deception incidents, or recognises the woman, should contact Pc James Harper on 01284 774300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.