Fraudsters impersonate police in cash scam across East Devon

PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 30 January 2020

The police leaflet about the scam. Picture: Philippa Davies

The police leaflet about the scam. Picture: Philippa Davies

Philippa Davies

Callous fraudsters are using scare tactics to con people in East Devon out of large sums of money.

Advice on what to do if targeted by fraudsters. Picture:  Philippa DaviesAdvice on what to do if targeted by fraudsters. Picture: Philippa Davies

There has been an increase locally in so-called 'courier fraud', including a case on Tuesday, January 28, in which the victim handed a four-figure sum of money to someone claiming to be a messenger from the police.

Officers are warning people not to be taken in by an official-sounding phone call claiming they need to make a cash payment.

Sergeant Andy Squires said: "It's happening across the force area, but East Devon is getting hit particularly hard at the minute.

"Basically somebody will ring up, and there are a number of reasons they'll give, culminating in this person needing to hand over two or three thousand pounds in cash and deliver it to a police station in London.

Sergeant Andy Squires. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AWSergeant Andy Squires. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

"One example was, 'your nephew's been arrested and you need to pay for his bail'.

"They'll say it needs to be in cash and needs to be delivered to the police station in London within the next 24 hours.

"The person will probably say, 'I can't possibly deliver it to the police station in London, I haven't got any means of getting there', and they'll say 'don't worry, a colleague of mine will come and collect it from you'.

"Six hours later someone will knock on their door and they'll hand over a big bundle of cash, and sometimes cards as well."

Devon and Cornwall Police have produced a leaflet giving details of the scam.

Sgt Squires said: "We want to get the message out that police will never ask for your bank details, and no legitimate organisation, let alone the police, will ever ask you to hand over cash on your doorstep."

The leaflet also warns that the telephone fraudster may ask their intended victim to hang up and call back to confirm. But in fact they will stay on the line and pretend to be someone else.

Suspicious calls should be reported to the police on the 101 number or online and/or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online

Anyone who has handed over cash, cards or personal details should contact the police and their bank immediately.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald