Police are renewing advice to residents across Sussex not to be taken in by cold callers after two people were defrauded in one day, losing a total of almost £7,500.
On Tuesday morning (February 17) a man posing as a police officer phoned a woman in her 80s living in Brighton, saying two men had been arrested in London in possession of bank cards and that she should withdraw money from her account as a precaution.
She went to her bank and took out £2,400, which she then handed to a man who came to her door.
Later the same day a man also posing as a police officer rang a 74-year old Falmer man with a similar story.
The man went to his bank and took out £5,000 which he later handed to a courier who called at the door.
The methods used by the criminals - posing as someone who would normally be regarded as trustworthy - vary in their detail but usually follow a similar pattern.
The fraudsters call their victim claiming to be from either the police or a bank. They tell them that their bank details have been compromised and urge them to act swiftly to protect themselves. They may suggest hanging up and ringing the bank or police back straight away to check the call is genuine.
But they then stay on the line and pretend to be the police or the bank, giving instructions on how their victim should act to safeguard their money - either withdrawing it as cash or providing their PIN number for the bank to take action.
They then send a taxi or courier, who may know nothing about the crime, to collect either cash or a supposedly compromised bank card.
Detective Inspector Steve Warner said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank act in this way.
“If you have any suspicions, please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank. If possible use another phone to report your concerns or to contact a friend or relative to alert them.
“Thankfully, many of these attempts fail as alert residents are not fooled. In fact there were four similar attempts in Brighton on Tuesday alone, but each time the recipients realised what was happening and did not part with any money.
“However we urge anyone reading or hearing this message to pass it on to any friends and relatives who may be unaware of this particular type of targeted fraud,
“We want to encourage everyone to continue to resist these callers, who despicably often target elderly and vulnerable people who may easily become confused.”
Anyone who has received similar calls, knows of someone who has or who has other information, is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101, quoting Operation Edisto. Calls can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For online advice on fraud prevention go to: /help-centre/ask-us/fraud-scams-and-financial-issues/what-can-I-do-to-preventfraud.