An elderly couple have fallen prey to a courier cash fraud after being told their bank account had been compromised and now only contained counterfeit notes.
The victims from Ovingdean, Brighton, aged in their 80s received a call on 27 July from a man pretending to be Detective Constable Martin Collins. He said their bank account had been compromised and staff at the bank were involved and were being investigated by police. He instructed them to withdraw the cash and go home and wait for a courier who would collect the counterfeit notes and exchange them for genuine cash.
The couple went to the bank and withdraw more than £13,000. The staff at the bank were suspicious and questioned them before calling police. Officers attended but the victims rejected their offer of help because they feared the police and bank staff were ‘in’ on the fraud together. They said the money was for a private family matter.
They went home and received another phone call to say a courier would be arriving to collect the cash. A man described as aged between 18 and 20, of Asian appearance, with short dark hair and wearing a dark jacket turned up at their home, took the money and left on foot. Overnight the couple realised it was a scam and reported it to police.
Detective Constable Julian Harrison-Jones said: “The victims were completely taken in by these people pretending to be from the ‘police fraud squad’ to the extend that they would not except help from the bank staff or genuine police officers. The suspects were persistent and intimidating and continued to call the couple
“The police do not contact people and ask them to withdraw or hand over cash or valuables to officers, and neither do bank staff. Also banks do not hold counterfeit currency in customers’ accounts.
“The people carrying out these frauds are deliberately targeting those they think are vulnerable, using varying and subtle tactics. Please do look out for your friends, family and anyone you feel may be at risk by passing out this message, to help prevent further people falling victim to this type of fraud.
“If ever you doubt a telephone caller is genuine, simply hang up the phone. If speaking to callers at the door, always ask for identification and satisfy yourself that it is genuine before dealing with that person.”