Warning over phone scam after pensioners conned out of £100k


- Credit: Archant

Police are urging East Devon residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a professionally-run scam aimed at defrauding the elderly and vulnerable.

The con involves criminals calling households posing as officials from the police or a bank and has resulted in unsuspecting victims being fleeced out of more than £100,000.

Devon and Cornwall Police says there have been a ‘considerable number’ of victims nationwide - including many in its area.

The average age of victims is around 70, with losses ranging between £4,000 to more than £100,000. The scam centres around offenders trying to convince people there has been some form of fraudulent activity with their bank account.

They sometimes claim that the victim’s account has, or is being used, to withdraw substantial sums of money.

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The fraudsters then request bank account details, PIN numbers and other details as a matter of urgency to ‘prevent further substantial losses’.

The caller often invites the victim to hang up the phone and call their bank or local police to confirm events.

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However, police say in these cases, the scammers have maintained an open phone line, so on re-dialling the victim is actually connected to and conversing with the same offenders throughout the whole process.

Having attained all bank details, the caller eventually tries to convince the victim to package their bank cards, seal them in an envelope and wait for a courier to arrive and collect.

A police spokesperson said: “The offenders sound professional, use decoding electronic devices as part of the process and even have automated messages and background music if on hold - it is a sophisticated and well-planned operation, which gives the impression of being genuine. If you believe a member of the public is in the process of being defrauded or has been the victim of this type of incident, please contact police on 101 immediately.”

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