Phone scams continue to target North Devon victims

Saturday, August 9, 2014
2:20 PM

Police warn the elderly and their relatives to be alert for telephone crooks after nine cases were reported at the end of July.

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Police have warned of a continuing spate of ‘sickening and cruel’ telephone scams in North Devon against the elderly after at least nine incidents were reported in recent days.

Last week the North Devon Gazette reported how an 86-year-old man had been robbed of his £9,000 life savings and ‘lost all trust’ after crooks pretending to be police claimed they had his grandson in custody.

Sergeant Paul Jones said the crimes were still happening, with scamsters calling victims and either claiming a grandson had been arrested, or that they were investigating bank fraud.

They either convince the person to hand over their bank details, or to withdraw money from their bank and wait for ‘a courier’ to pick it up.

Often, they ask the victim to call their bank and then simply keep the phone line open by not hanging up, before pretending to be a bank worker.

Sgt Jones said there had been four incidents in the Braunton area on July 21, plus another at Shirwell the day before, when the victim lost £600, as well as a case at Mortehoe on July 29.

“It is a pretty sickening and cruel crime,” he said.

“It is highly unlikely any police station anywhere would call someone about banking fraud.

“We would also encourage people to discuss this with their elderly relatives to make them aware.”

He said if people had any concerns at all about a telephone call they should not pass over any details but contact the police immediately by dialling 101. Anyone who would like advice on preventing such crime is also asked to call.

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