Fraud threat: ‘New twist’ scam sees conmen prey on victims as old as 90

People across the West Country were yesterday warned to be on their guard against a “new twist” fraud that’s growing in threat.

Conmen posing as police officers have tricked victims as old as 90 across the Avon and Somerset and Devon and Cornwall force areas.

People have been duped out of cash and coerced into buying valuable items, said a spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police.

“It is a new twist on an established form of courier fraud which has claimed a number of victims.

“The latest scam involves people being contacted by a man posing as a police officer who is investigating a fraud at their bank. The victim is persuaded to take part in an undercover investigation by obtaining cash from their account or by buying high-value items like Rolex watches.

“Arrangements are made for the victims to attend a meeting to hand over the cash or goods – the meeting point is sometimes a railway station.

“The ‘detective’ then seizes the cash and items as evidence for their investigation.”

Reported victims are aged between 50 and 90.

Detective Inspector Richard Horsfall said: “It is particularly disgraceful when they prey on the elderly and the vulnerable.

“A police officer, or any other official, will never ask for money or bank details over the phone or on the doorstep or ask you to take them to a pre-arranged location.

“If you are unsure if the person is who they say they are, ask for identification such as their collar number and call 101 to check the name and authenticity of the caller.

“We would also advise relatives of the elderly and those who have elderly neighbours to make them aware of these scams and report any instances where people may have been victims.”

If you want to report being a victim, call 101, quoting 5217219020.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.