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, 16:45
The Taw Bridge, Barnstaple

Drivers help talk the man to safety after Sunday afternoon drama on Taw Bridge

Read more
Yesterday, 16:44
Landlord Nick Ward and customers celebrate St George's Day at the Ship and Pilot in Ilfracombe.

The Ship and Pilot pub pays homage to England sporting success in football club fundraiser

Read more
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Justin Wallace, former Bideford Round Table chairman; Dr Robin Buckland, North Devon Children’s Holiday Foundation; and Alex Dziurzynski, Bideford Round Table events coordinator.

The Bideford Round Table has raised nearly £3,000 to provide holidays of a lifetime for children with serious illnesses and disabilities.

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
David Cameron visiting Barnstaple this morning. Picture © Guy Harrop

Catch up with the latest General Election goings on and ministerial visits in pictures

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
The new Ilfracombe launch and recovery vehicle being put through its paces on Instow beach.

£1million launch and recovery vehicle begins training exercises in North Devon

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015

Tractor severely damaged after accidentally catching fire near Lynton yesterday (Thursday).

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson with 3 year old Stephanie during a General Election campaign visit to Advantage Children's Day Nursery in Surbiton, Surrey. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

David Cameron is launching the Conservatives’ first English manifesto, with a promise of changes to ensure that English MPs have the final say on income tax rates in England.

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015

The 34-year-old will appear at Exeter Crown Court for sentencing on 30 charges of fraud next month.

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
What are you doing to celebrate VE Day in North Devon?

Are you doing anything to celebrate 70 years since World War two formally ended? Tell us about your VE Day celebrations.

Read more
Friday, April 24, 2015
Frankie Moore serves his gran (lt) and Mike and Mel Braddick some salad at the Westward Ho! Big Lunch last year.

Tickets to the free community Big Lunch are expected to be in high demand, according to organisers.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

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
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



North Devon's trusted business finder