|Woman Defrauded Of Thousands By Telephone 'Scam'|
Police caution vigilance against callers posing as detectives
Police have warned the public to be on the alert for a scam targeting local elderly people in which telephone callers pretend to be police office officers investigating bank fraud.
A resident of Hounslow has this week been defrauded of £19,000 of her savings by the telephone scam. Some months ago, an elderly woman in Chiswick also fell victim to the same fraud and withdrew several thousand pounds from her account before handing it over to the fraudsters.
Police say the scam is now becoming "very prevalent".
According to the police, the elderly lady was contacted by a male claiming to be a Metropolitan Police Detective who told her that her bank card had been compromised. He asked her to put the phone down and dial 999 and ask to be put through to the same officer which she did.
Because the fraudster did not hang up when she picked the phone up again the line was still connected to him. She spoke to the same ‘officer’ again who told her that he was also investigating counterfeit currency at her bank and needed her to help uncover evidence of this. He managed to persuade her of the need to withdraw thousands of pounds of cash from her account, seal it in an envelope and hand it to a courier who collected it from her front doorstep. This happened over three separate days this week.
The police say: “Whilst we are doing everything we can to trace and arrest these suspects the key message to the public is that neither the police nor the banks will ever ask you to withdraw money or to hand over cash or bank cards or ask for any confidential financial information.
"If you do receive such a call contact the police as soon as possible on either a separate phone line or if using the same phone line wait at least five minutes so that you are no longer connected to the suspect.”