Fraud warning after elderly Cambridgeshire victims lose thousands in phone scams

Detectives are warning residents to stay vigilant following a number of reports of scam phone calls across the county.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 2:49 pm

Since September there have been around 20 incidents of elderly victims being called by bogus police officers and bank officials asking them to transfer funds or withdraw cash for collection.

On November 11 a couple in their 70s from Boxworth were contacted by a fraud department at a bank to tell them their account had been compromised. They transferred £38,000 to the suspects and handed a further £10,000 over in cash.

A 69-year-old man from Huntingdon received a call from a bank fraud section and transferred £60,000 to the suspects on October 14.

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Fraud alert

A few days later he received a call from Barclays Fraud Team questioning large payments he had supposedly made.

He was told it had all stemmed from the TV licence email and he’d been scammed. They closed his bank account over the phone and he was asked to transfer £60,000.

The victim was told a detective from Scotland Yard would meet him at his bank in the coming days.

When he arrived at the branch with his wife, he was told the bank knew nothing of an appointment and told him there was no such thing as a Fraud Team.

Thankfully after speaking to the bank, Action Fraud and the police, he was able to get his money back.

He said: “I had no reason not to believe what they were saying. They knew how much money I had and knew all about the TV licence email I had received.

“I was extremely lucky to get my money, my life savings back.”

Also that month on October 4 a 76-year-old woman from Warboys withdrew £10,000 after receiving a call from a man claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police and handed over the cash.

The officer was able to confirm her card details with her and knew how much money was in her account.

He sent her off to her local bank to withdraw money and then to shops where she had store cards to withdraw Euros. He asked her to make note of how the staff reacted, what they were wearing and told her not to touch some of the bank notes so they could be finger print tested.

Later in the day a man collected the money from her home.

She was contacted a few days later and asked to withdraw more money. She couldn’t get to the bank so sent it electronically and was told her new card would arrive and all the funds returned but they never were.

She handed over around £12,000 of which about £8,000 she is unlikely to get back.

She said: “I’m normally very aware of potential scams but these people caught me at a time when I was very busy and they were very convincing. When a police officer calls you and asks for your help, you have no reason to doubt him.

“I’m lucky that it’s just money they took and I wasn’t harmed but I won’t be falling for scams again. I should’ve taken a step back and seen it wasn’t right.”

Detective Inspector Jenni Brain said: “Thankfully in the majority of cases the victims haven’t fallen for the fraudsters convincing stories.

“These people often target the elderly or vulnerable resulting in the loss of thousands of pounds.

“It’s important to remember that police officers and bank officials will never ask you to withdraw or transfer money or hand over private banking details.

“We ask that friends, relatives and neighbours of elderly people help us spread this message to prevent anyone else falling victim to these crimes.”

If you believe you are a victim of this scam, contact police on 101.

Advice to prevent you becoming a victim of bogus calls:

Hang up if you ever have any doubts about someone who has called you

Ensure the line has been terminated before making any further calls. You can tell if the dial tone is present or by using another phone.

Never give out your PIN, banks will never ask you for it.

Never give bank cards to anyone at your door, even if they say they’re from the bank.