Two men have lost nearly £4,000 between them after being duped by fraudsters pretending to be Metropolitan police officers.
Residents are being urged not to trust anyone who requests card PIN or security details over the phone or arranges the collection of bank cards and cash from your home.
On Tuesday (May 26) an 81-year-old man in Beecham Place, St Leonards, received a call at 2pm from someone claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police stating that an attempt to use his card had been made in Covent Garden, London.
The man, purporting to be a police officer, asked him where he did his banking and advised him to go there and withdraw £2,500 so the serial numbers on the money could be checked. On the journey to Bexhill, the fake officer kept the man on the phone and was told to tell the bank, if questioned, that the money was to buy a new bathroom.
When the man returned home he was called again and explained that a courier would call at his home to take the bank cards and cash for evidence and forensic examination. The man was also told to type his PIN number on the telephone keypad. He was given a password to give to the courier when they arrived.
At around 7pm that night a courier arrived, took the money and cards and was seen to leave in a black car. He was phoned again and told not to call Sussex Police as they ‘don’t like the Met working on their patch’. Another appointment was made to take a statement, but this did not happen.
On Wednesday (May 27) at about 10:30am a resident at Madeira Drive, Hastings, was called by a man claiming to be from HSBC bank, who said that his bank card had been used by someone else. The 49-year-old man was advised to call the bank’s helpline on the reverse of the card. He was told by customer service that his card had been scammed and that he would be transferred to the security department and was given a four digit number to quote.
The next person he spoke to claimed to be a Metropolitan police officer, who claimed that people had been arrested in Hastings for trying to use his card and asked him to make a statement for court and that his cards would be needed for evidence and would be forensically checked. A courier would be sent to collect his HSBC bank card and any other credit or debit cards so these could be investigated too. He was told that all his cards had been cancelled.
The man then told the victim to tap the PIN numbers of all his cards on the telephone number pad claiming this was an additional security measure.
He was provided with a password to give to the courier who would arrive by taxi. More than nine hours later at 7.40pm a courier arrived, the password was exchanged and the cards handed over. The courier explained that because of his cooperation with this fraud investigation, a credit of £6,000 would be made to his bank account as a reward. A few minutes later the man received a call from someone purporting to be from his bank querying an unusual £6,000 credit. The man realised a short while later that a total of £1,300 had been taken from his account, with no sign of the £6,000 credit.
The courier was described by both victims as either Indian or Asian ethnicity, about 6ft tall, of slim build and wearing blue jeans.
PCSO Julia Hutchison said: “We are doing all we can to make people aware of this type of fraud. Fraudsters using plausible reasons as to why someone’s account has been compromised. and since the beginning of this week 31 reports have been received.
“I would advise that in no circumstances is your PIN number given to someone else either verbally or by pressing telephone key pads. Always listen for a dialling tone when making outgoing calls as the fraudsters stay connected by not putting their phone down. The only way to check this is to listen for a dialling tone or by using another phone, be that a mobile or a neighbour’s phone. Don’t be afraid to say no and put the phone down, and tell someone about it if you have any doubt at all.
“If you have any information in relation to these crimes please contact police on 101 quoting serials 999 of 28/05 or 1550 of 27/05.
“If you think you have been contacted by a fraudster wait to hear the dialling tone before calling Sussex Police on 101 to report it. We have lots of information on our website about scams and you can pick up the ‘Little Book of Big Scams from Hastings police station.”
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