Warning after elderly Chichester couple told to buy £24,000 of gold bars by fraudsters

Sussex Police has issued a warning after several people in West Sussex were targeted by fraudsters in the past month.

Impersonator fraud is when a victim is deceived into giving money or financial details to someone claiming to be from an organisations they trust.

On Tuesday (April 13), police received report that an elderly couple in Chichester had been contacted by someone claiming to be from Hammersmith Police on March 25.

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They were told that money in their savings account was corrupt and they needed to send money or gold.

Sussex Police stock image

The victims purchased £24,000 of gold bars and gave them to a man who attended their address claiming to be from Scotland Yard.

After not hearing from the suspects, they contacted Sussex Police and an investigation into this matter is underway.

Another similar case was also reported in Chichester on March 25 where the victim lost £5,000 of their savings to a fraudster purporting to be an officer for the Metropolitan Police.

PC Laura Marmolejo said: "We are urging people to be vigilant if they receive an unsolicited phone call from someone talking about finances.

"There are steps you can take to ensure the person calling is who they say they are. If you’re in doubt, hang up the phone and talk to a trusted family member or friend before making any decisions about your finances.

"People who are genuinely from organisations such as the police will not make you ask you for funds or financial details.

"These are absolutely appalling crimes that exploit victims’ trust and can have a devastating effect on their lives. We are determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

"Anyone with information about these crimes is urged to report it to us online or by calling 101.”

Sussex Police has issued the following advice to West Sussex residents.

⚫ Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust.

⚫ Check people are who they say they are.

⚫ Don't share your personal information.

⚫ Make decisions in your own time.

⚫ If in doubt phone a relative or a friend.

⚫ Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer.

Under no circumstances would the bank or police:

⚫ request a card PIN or security details over the telephone, or

⚫ arrange collection of bank cards or money from a home address

For further information on scam warning signs, please see the website here.