|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.”
UPDATE: Missing teenage girl Bobbie-Joe located
Bobbie-Joe Parker was last seen at around 1.00pm yesterday (Tuesday, 19 January) and has not been in contact with family since.Surrey Police is appealing for information from the public to help trace a vulnerable missing 17-year-old girl from Frimley.
She is described as white, 5ft 3ins tall, of a slim build, with naturally red hair which is currently dyed brown. She was last seen wearing a leather jacket with faux fur collar, a blue top, black leggings and black shoes and has a large, black and white zebra print Lipsy branded bag with a pink trim.
Anyone who sees Bobbie-Jo or has any information on her current whereabouts should call Surrey Police on 101, quoting reference P16014216, or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Alternatively you can report information using the online reporting system at https://my.surrey.police.uk/splonlinereportingweb.
Anthony Gransden 28 years, has been charged with one count of robbery and another of theft after meat and alcohol were stolen from the Co-op in Bagshot.
Gransden has been charged with robbing the Co-op store of meat and alcohol to the value of £80 on 22 September 2015. During the incident, members of staff where threatened with a capped needle.
He has also been charged with the theft of numerous items of meat to the value of £40 from the same store on Monday 28 December 2015.
Gransden appeared at Guildford Magistrates Court on 29 December where he pleaded guilty to the theft charge but no plea was entered for the robbery. The robbery offence was adjourned to Guildford Crown Court on 8 January 2016.
He is currently on bail to an address in Northolt, London.
Surrey Police is appealing for witnesses following a fatal single-vehicle collision on the Gordon Boys Roundabout in Lightwater.
The incident happened at around 11.40pm yesterday (December 25) when the black Honda Jazz left the road and collided with a tree on the roundabout. The vehicle is believed to have been travelling from the Red Road direction prior to the collision.
The passenger, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, a woman in her 60s, has been taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting with serious injuries.
Officers would like to hear from anyone who saw the movements of the car prior to the collision. If you have any information please contact Surrey Police by calling 101 or report it online at http://www.surrey.police.uk/, and quote the reference number P15328841.
The roundabout is currently closed at all junctions and is likely to remain closed until around 5am.
Simmone Laval, of Green Lane, Bagshot, was convicted on Tuesday, 8 December following a 12 day trial at Guildford Crown Court. She had pleaded guilty to possession of a CS gas canister at an earlier hearing, for which she received no additional penalty.
The court heard that Laval had been employed by Kerry Commercial Services Ltd, and subsequently by Peach Coatings Ltd, as a finance manager. She diverted company money to herself via her mother’s account in the form of cheques and electronic bank transfers, concealing the payments on the company accounting system as payments to sub-contractors or the Directors’ Loan Accounts. In 2010 alone, she stole over £48,000 of company money.
Kerry Commercial Services went into liquidation in early 2012, but Laval was taken back on under the new company. She continued to steal until the directors and general manager began an investigation due to the company beginning to fail in late 2013. They found payments to an unknown party, who turned out to be Laval’s mother. Laval was arrested by Surrey Police on 5 November 2013 and charged after a year-long investigation. Two payments in particular were noted during the court case, including £360 that Laval stole from Kerry Commercial Services in its final days prior to liquidation, and £3,000 that should have been repaid to a friend’s widow after he made a personal loan to the company to try and keep it afloat.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Clare Nettleton, said: “Laval had the complete trust of the directors and took advantage of that. When he sentenced her, the judge said that when they employed her in 2005, they did not know they were “taking a viper into their nest” and that Laval stole this money with no regard for the directors and their family, or the families of the staff who were made redundant when the company went into liquidation. He described it as a “cunning and manipulative fraud”, for which she had shown no remorse or regard for others.”
DS Nettleton added: “A huge amount of time and effort went into this investigation and although it cannot repay the hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of money she has stolen over the years, Laval will have to face the consequences of her actions whilst serving her time in prison and hopefully this will bring some small comfort to those she has defrauded.”
Police in Surrey Heath are appealing for witnesses following an incident in Camberley on Saturday, 28 November in which a 20-year-old woman was assaulted as she made her way home after an evening out.
The victim was walking along the A30 London Road away from the town centre in the direction of a McDonald’s restaurant at around 4am. She was with another woman and three men when they were approached by a group of three men. A verbal altercation ensued and the victim was punched in the face by an unknown man as she tried to intervene.
The suspect is described as a man of dual heritage, 5ft 11” tall, aged in his early 20s and of a slim build. He was wearing a white top with black writing.
PC Chris Bowers investigating said: “This was an aggressive assault on a young woman who was trying to keep the peace. I would urge anyone who may have been in the vicinity, whether driving by or making their way on foot, who may have seen this vicious incident to contact officers with information. We need to locate this suspect and bring the offender to justice. Surrey Police continues to work maintain the borough as a place for residents and visitors to feel safe and enjoy.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference 45150107881 or by using the online reporting system found at https://my.surrey.police.uk/splonlinereportingweb. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Think twice and don’t give out your personal details to someone you don’t know” is the message behind a campaign launched by Surrey Police, which is aimed at vulnerable and elderly people who are targeted by courier fraud.
The campaign, which runs until December 20, focuses on raising awareness of the scam and the preventative measures which can be put in place to protect yourself, or from someone you care about, from becoming a victim.
Courier fraud involves a telephone call being made by someone often pretending to be in an authoritative position and is one of the more common types of fraud. They explain there has been an issue with your bank, or that a crime involving your money has taken place, and ask you to call them back on another number. Whilst you think you’ve hung up they stay on the line and then pretend to be another person who collects personal details such as bank or card details, or requests you to withdraw money. A courier is then sent to collect either money or bank cards.
Courier fraud scammers often use a variety of tactics to appear plausible, such as imitating authorities like the police, the bank or Trading Standards. They also change what they ask for, such as personal details, your pin number both verbally or by entering it into the keypad, or even asking you to withdraw cash.
Fraudsters use a number of different tactics to prey on vulnerable people. Here are some real examples that have happened across Surrey this year:
- An 83-year-old lady from Warlingham received a telephone call from a woman claiming to be from her bank. She was asked for details on recent transactions and her pin number, and was told a courier would need to be sent to collect her bank card in order for a new one to be delivered. Over just a few days just under £3,000 was taken from her account.
- A 70-year-old man from Gomshall was contacted by a fraudster claiming to be from the Metropolitan police. The fraudster said he was involved in distributing counterfeit money and needed the victim’s help. The victim was asked to withdraw £5,000 which he handed over after meeting the suspects in London, and was then asked to purchase two watches to the value of £17,900, and £4,000 worth of casino chips which he handed over. He was also asked to make a number of cash withdrawals.
- A man in his 80s from Dorking received a phone call from a man pretending to be a police officer who asked the victim to call his bank following fraudulent activity on his account. As the fraudster did not hang up, the line was left open and so when the victim called the bank the fraudster was then able to pretend to be a bank clerk. The victim was asked for his pin number and requested to put his bank cards in an envelope for collection by a courier.
Sticker packs, leaflets, postcards and posters will be distributed to doctor’s surgeries, post offices and pharmacies across the county and neighbourhood teams will out and about in their local communities promoting the campaign and the measures which can be taken to prevent someone from falling victim to courier fraud.
Superintendent Natalie Moloney said: “We have seen a noticeable increase in courier fraud across the county and some of these victims are even being repeatedly targeted by scammers. These fraudsters are particularly despicable as they target elderly and vulnerable people by being extremely convincing, often succeeding in getting their victims to part with thousands of pounds of their hard-earned life savings.
“We have launched this campaign to raise awareness of this scam not only to potential victims but also to their families and friends so they can take steps to protect themselves. The message is clear – never give out personal details to someone you don’t know and avoid becoming the next victim.”
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/.