Hastings and St Leonards pensioners caught out by scam

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Two pensioners from St Leonards and Hastings are latest victims of an Edisto fraud scam.

An 87-year-old man from St Leonards and an 84-year-old woman from Hastings are latest victims of unscrupulous fraudsters pretending to be Metropolitan Police officers.

The man lost more than £10,000 on Wednesday, May 20, and the woman lost nearly £2,500 on Tuesday, May 19.

Since Monday, police in the area have received 12 reports of attempted frauds.

“In these case the fraudsters pretend to be detective constables from the Metropolitan Police using names such as DC Daniel Ransom, DC David Ramsden, DC Michael O’Connor, DC Ray Marshall, DCI Robert Freeman, DCI Daniel Redford from the fraud squad or fraud investigation team,” said a Sussex Police spokesman.

“These pretend police officers all claim that a person’s card has been used fraudulently at stores in towns miles away such as Birmingham or in London and that further attempts to withdraw smaller amounts from cash machines.

“They are saying that the person’s card has been cloned.

“The person is advised to withdraw all their money from their saving account.

“The fake police officers will sometimes go as far as to say the money used at the bank or building society is counterfeit and needs to be forensically examined.

“Sometimes the fake officers, to build trust, claim Sussex Police are aware and plain clothed police officers would watch the transaction at the bank as they suspected that the staff are involved and it’s an inside job.

“Once the person has agreed to withdraw all their cash, they return home.

“Later a time is arranged for either plain clothed police officers or couriers to call at their address, exchange an agreed password and collect the cash.

“The fraudsters sometimes ask the person if they have other card accounts and ask for even more money to be taken out at ATMs.”

Sergeant Dave Townsend, from Hastings Neighbourhood Police Team said: “We are continuing to work with local banks and building societies to educate their staff and customers about this fraud.

“A number of banks have contacted police regarding concerns that have led to arrests in the past.

“If you think you have been contacted by a fraudster and have doubts during the call, hang up the phone, allow about ten minutes to pass before calling your bank/building society and police to make sure that your phone line is completely cleared or ideally use another phone.

“Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbours.

“The more people who know about this, the less chance the fraudsters have of getting their hands on other people’s money.”

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