Braintree district: Video: Fraudsters con pensioners out of £24,500 (From Braintree and Witham Times)
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Braintree district: Video: Fraudsters con pensioners out of £24,500
12:03pm Friday 20th September 2013 in News
Callous fraudsters have conned two pensioners out of £24,500.
The con artists, who posed as police officers and bank officials, targeted two people in their 70s who live in the Braintree area.
In the first incident a woman was contacted on Monday by a man claiming to be from the fraud department of her bank.
He said that a large amount of money had been taken fraudulently from her account and that she needed to transfer the remaining money to a safer account.
The victim was given a bank account number and a sort code and transferred £10,000.
She was told not to tell anyone but reported the incident to police on Thursday September 20.
The second victim was also contacted by a caller claiming to a bank official who was investigating fraud at the man’s branch.
He was asked to make a total of eight cash withdrawals so that his account could be monitored.
The man withdrew a total of £14,500, £10,000 of which was in euros, between September 14 and 17 and was then asked to hand the money over to the investigator.
A courier was sent on two occasions to collect the cash, which was never seen again.
Various stories have been used to trick victims but the two incidents in Braintree show that the thieves are using new tactics to obtain larger sums of money.
Inspector Paul Wells said: "Most of the successful frauds in Essex have involved people being tricked into giving their bank account and PIN numbers or handing over their bank cards. These have been then used to withdraw cash or buy valuable items.
"As a result of our widespread media campaigns in Essex warning of the bank card scam the thieves seem to have changed their approach. They are trying to convince people that their bank accounts are at risk and money should be moved out of those accounts.
"People should remember that banks would NEVER ask you to move money from one account to another and they would NEVER ask you to hand over cash.
"The victims tend to be vulnerable or elderly people, ranging in age from 70 to 90, although some much younger people have been targeted. We would urge everyone to be on their guard and if you have elderly relatives to make sure that they are warned about these despicable crimes.”
Anyone with information about the thieves or anyone who has been approached by suspected fraudsters should contact the Operation Seaford investigation team at Grays on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Fraudsters have tried to trick almost 300 people since January.
The vast majority of attempts failed but 40 of the victims fell for a variety of false stories and lost sums ranging from a few hundred pounds to £22,000. A total of £164,000 has been stolen since the start of the year.
Essex Police Advice:
How to guard against the phone fraudsters REMEMBER…..that police or your bank would NEVER phone you to ask about your bank details or for any sensitive information including PIN numbers REMEMBER….that your bank would NEVER ask you over the telephone to move money from one account to another. They would NEVER ask you to take out large sums of cash as part of any fraud investigation.
IF IN DOUBT..…HANG UP and phone the police, but DO NOT use the phone that they have called you on. Part of the scam is that the fraudsters will ask you to call them back to confirm that they are legitimate, but they will stay on the line and will respond when you think you are making a new call.
Try to use a mobile telephone, go to a neighbour’s house, call a relative, contact a carer and call Essex Police on 101 or dial 999 in urgent cases.
If you cannot use another phone to call police wait for at least 10 minutes before using the phone you have been called on and ENSURE that you get a dialling tone.
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