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Elderly targeted by ‘rare earth metal scam’

Archant

Police are warning Sidmouth residents about a national scam targeting the elderly involving investment in rare earth metals.

Officers in Devon and Cornwall have recently become aware of a fraud whereby following a ‘cold call’, victims are persuaded to invest substantial amounts of money in rare earth metal oxides.

A spokesman said: “The victim tends to be elderly and contact is usually made by telephone and following pressurised selling, considerable amounts of personal savings are deposited into seemingly bone fide company bank accounts in the hope of a future substantial return, which in fact never materialises.”

Nationally, the fraud totals millions of pounds with thousands of victims, several of whom are in the South West.

Detective Sergeant Mark Newnham said: “Genuine companies do not ‘cold call’ and use intimidating and persuasive tactics, and I would urge anyone who is contacted out of the blue regarding such investments to think very carefully.

“Do not agree to invest on a whim without making basic checks into the company”.

To report an instance of fraud or for more information contact Fraud Action on 0300 123 2040.

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