Warning after bogus police officers target elderly man in Surrey Heath

Surrey Police is urging the public to remain vigilant after a vulnerable man in Mytchett was conned into handing over £60,000 to fraudsters who posed as police officers.

A 79-year-old man was persuaded to make a series of extravagant purchases after receiving a call on his landline from a man who claimed to be a detective.

The conman gave a fake collar number and crime reference number and explained that he was investigating a covert case of fraud and corruption involving a bank and a jewellers and that the victim’s bank accounts were significantly at risk.

The victim received the call on Tuesday 19 January or Wednesday 20 January from the fraudster who claimed he needed to collect evidence for the investigation. A taxi was sent to take the victim to the jewellers in Reading, where he was instructed to purchase two Rolex watches, amounting to £50,000.

Upon his return home a man claiming to be from the evidence unit attended his address to collect the watches and discuss evidence on behalf of the police.

The following day the victim received another call instructing him to withdraw currency at a shop in Woking.

Detective Constable, Mike Taylor, said: “This was a spineless and cruel case which has conned a vulnerable man out of a significant amount of money.

“Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for fraudsters to impersonate police officers and therefore extremely convincing to their victims.

“Think twice before giving out your personal details and always challenge somebody for proof of their identity before agreeing to speak to them.

“A police officer will never ask for your bank details or to withdraw money or purchase goods for them.”

A number of steps can be taken to protect yourself, or someone you care about:

  • Don’t give personal details, bank cards, or money to someone you don’t know.
  • If you’re asked to call someone back, hang up and wait 5 minutes before calling back or use a mobile phone.
  • Trading Standards can provide sticker packs which can be put on telephones as a reminder not to give out details. Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06
  • trueCall provide hardware that can block unwanted telephone calls including nuisance and scam calls.
  • Registering with the Telephone Preference Service can reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive. Registration is completely free. Visit http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/ or call 0345 070 0707.
  • Registering with the Mail Preference Service can reduce the quantity of unsolicited mail you receive. Registration is free of charge. Visit http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/.

If you have any information or think you think you may have been a victim of a similar crime please call Surrey Police on 101. For further advice, visit www.Surrey.Police.Uk/Fraud or find us on (FB) SurreyPolice (Twitter)@SurreyPolice.

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