Four people have become victims of courier fraud in Hastings and St Leonards over the last few days handing over more than £22,000 in total.
Phone calls were made to the victims between Friday, May 29 and yesterday (Wednesday, June 3).
All reported that they were contacted by either Metropolitan police officers or Birmingham police officers.
Each fake officer stated that the victim’s bank card had been compromised in some way and that someone had tried to take money from their account. To add a layer of seeming truth it was claimed that someone had been arrested and the offence was under investigation.
The fraudsters are cunning and tell the victims that the banks and building societies are using counterfeit bank notes and are part of a wider, organised deception. The victims are told to withdraw their cash so the bank notes can have the serial numbers checked. The victims are led to believe they are helping police investigate a serious counterfeit operation within the banks themselves.
The victims are schooled by the fraudsters to lie to the bank or building society staff when questioned what the large withdrawal of money will be used for. Generally the victims are told to tell staff they are buying a car, having an extension built, a new bathroom put in and so on.
The fraudsters tell the victims that their money will be picked up by a courier from their home address later the same day and are given a password. The courier arrives, takes the money and the victim is left with nothing.
Sergeant Dave Townsend said: “I can not stress just how important it is that we all work together to create as much awareness of these fraudsters tactics to prevent others from becoming victims. Please tell your neighbours, friends and family that police will never ask someone to withdraw money from their bank account. We are aware that this message is not reaching everyone, yet we are doing all that we can.
“The banks and building societies are working with us and we will be delivering more training to their staff to give them confidence to intercept a potential victim. We will continue to communicate these incidents as it is important that people know these fraudsters are still operating and continue to deceive vulnerable members of our town’s community.”
In separate incidents on May 26 and 27 two men lost nearly £4,000 between them after being duped by fraudsters pretending to be Metropolitan police officers.
Anyone who has information about these incidents should contact police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101 quoting Operation Edisto.
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