Telephone crooks swindle elderly Barnstaple woman of £18,000

13:40 20 August 2014

PC Eamon Rogers at Barnstaple Police Station has urged elderly people and their relatives to be alert for telephone fraudsters impersonating police officers.

PC Eamon Rogers at Barnstaple Police Station has urged elderly people and their relatives to be alert for telephone fraudsters impersonating police officers.

Archant

Police warn North Devon’s elderly residents to be on their guard after telephone fraudsters impersonating police officers continue to prey on the vulnerable, with an 85-year-old woman the latest victim.

A spate of telephone crooks pretending to be police are continuing to prey on the elderly in North Devon after a Barnstaple woman became the latest victim as she was swindled out of £18,000.

There have now been around a dozen incidents, with the 85-year-old from Sticklepath the latest to come to light, adding to £9,000 lost by another North Devon couple in their 80s.

While the full scale is uncertain, local police fear it could run into tens of thousands of pounds in North Devon alone, with incidents in Barnstaple, Braunton and Mortehoe.

They urge elderly residents and relatives to be vigilant and not be taken in by the scam, which sees the caller pretend to be from Hammersmith police station.

They say they have the victim’s grandson – or someone claiming to be them - in custody, with a laptop and ‘cloned’ bank card.

They convince the person to go to their bank and transfer money to another account to ‘safeguard’ it, telling them not to speak of it to anyone else.

“It’s the most despicable crime imaginable because it’s preying on the vulnerability of the elderly,” said PC Eamon Rogers at Barnstaple Police Station.

“This is certainly the worst I have ever come across in terms of the monetary value.

“They are quite inventive and persuasive, and the people they target are from an era that believe if a ‘policeman’ says something, it must be true.”

Another tactic sees the fraudulent policeman ask the victim to call their bank and then simply keep the line open by not hanging up, before pretending to be a bank worker.

PC Rogers urged anyone with any doubts to ask the caller for their name and identity number, and to say they would call them back.

“No police officer worth their salt would mind them calling back via the 101 number,” he said.

“Plus make sure you have a dialling tone before making another call.”

Anyone who has received similar suspicious calls is asked to contact PC Rogers at Barnstaple via the 101 number.

* Two men from London have been charged in connection with four offences of alleged courier fraud in Devon and Cornwall.

Abdul Shafee and Rahim Choudhury, both aged 18, and from Wheeler House, London, are due to appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday) charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

The charges relate to alleged courier frauds in Braunton, Stoke Cannon near Exeter, and two in Bideford, all between March and April this year.

Both men are further charged with one offence of conspiracy to commit fraud in Dorset and Choudhury is also charged with five offences of conspiracy to commit fraud in Avon and Somerset.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 23:16
The scene on the A39 tonight after two cars collided and caught fire. Picture: Kathryn-Racheal Ring

Road closed and reports of one man dragged from a blazing car as emergency services rush to the scene

Read more
Yesterday, 13:11
Phil Rayment photographed the Velella Velella on Westward Ho! beach.

Creature found on Westward Ho! beach is identified as a ‘by the wind sailor’.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:08
Green Lanes in Barnstaple.

Green Lanes Shopping Centre, Tuesday, August 4

Read more
Yesterday, 09:44

Police appeal for information after three birds found dead following ‘rare’ poison attack

Read more
Yesterday, 09:41
Do you recognise any of these items recovered by Barnstaple police?

Police have released a series of images of silver items believed to have been stolen in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Bideford and South Molton.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10
The scene of the fire in Torrington.

A woman was taken to hospital after five fire crews battled to fight blaze at Torrington terraced home.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:20
Fiona Leighton-Fowler with Jessie Head, Marie Curie fundraiser for Devon. Picture: Sarah Howells

Braunton woman is raising money for Maria Curie by completing 50 challenges ahead of her 50th birthday.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Sunshine at the North Devon Show.

The North Devon Show returns on Wednesday, August 5, with a jam-packed list of events. Find out 10 of the best things to look forward to here...

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
ndg Orchard Vale Exmoor Youth Challenge Team with money raised.

Pupils raise £475.50 for Children’s Hospice South West with charity trek.

Read more
Thu, 14:41

Young people sprayed from passing car with ‘aggravating’ mysterious liquid

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder