Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Video: Leigh man conned out of £4,000 in phone scam
A LEIGH man was conned out of £4,000 after a phone scam.
The resident was told by a bogus caller that police investigations had found that money in his bank account was counterfeit.
He was pestered for three days and asked to withdraw £4,000 for “tests” but never saw the money again after tricksters said that they had found the notes were “fakes”.
Essex Police are warning people across the county to be vigilant after an increase in fraudulent phone calls across the country.
Thieves posing as police officers or bank officials have called 270 people since January, and attempted to get bank and credit card details.
The vast majority of attempts failed but 38 people fell for false stories and lost cash ranging from a few hundred pounds to £22,000.
DS Neil Hudson, who is leading a team of officers investigating the frauds, said: "These criminals are using a wide range of different stories to convince their victims that their bank accounts have been tampered with. The case at Leigh is an example of how they convinced a man to withdraw money from his bank after tricking him into thinking that his savings were in counterfeit notes. They persevered for three days with repeated calls before the man gave them any 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.”
In some of the successful crimes, the tricksters told people that they had been the victim of fraud and police needed bank account numbers or debit or credit cards for forensic examination. Couriers are sent to collect cards which are quickly used to draw out cash or buy valuable items from major stores.
DS Hudson added: "There has been a considerable amount of publicity and community appeals to warn people about these potential scams.
"The fact that 270 people have been contacted and 38 have lost money shows that the warnings have had a considerable effect. But some elderly or vulnerable people are being tricked by these thieves.”
The Leigh scam is believed to have originated in the Met police area where more than 2,000 incidents have been reported.
Now the tricksters have been working in Essex and incidents have been regularly reported across a wide area across the south of the county and as far north as Colchester and Braintree.
Anyone with information about the thieves, or has been approached by suspected fraudsters, should contact Operation Seaford investigation team at Grays on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
How to guard against phone fraudsters
- Police or your bank would NEVER phone you to ask about your bank details or for any sensitive information including PIN numbers
- 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.
Comments are closed on this article.