Elderly people in Harborough are being warned to be on their guard by police after two pensioners in a neighbouring county were swindled out of over £33,000.
The two vulnerable victims, women in their 70s, were targeted in the Oakham area by courier fraudsters, Leicestershire Police said today.
A 75-year-old woman was duped out of £25,000 savings by criminals last week.
“She was contacted over a number of days by someone claiming to be a police officer who was investigating counterfeit currency.
“She was told to withdraw cash from her bank account over a few days and a courier was then sent to collect the money on two separate occasions,” said police.
“A second victim lost more than £8,000 after she was contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer.
“The 78-year-old victim was told to withdraw cash from her bank account and inform bank staff it was for her grandchildren if they asked.
“A courier was then sent to collect the cash.”
An 88-year-old man in Leicestershire weas also targeted.
Luckily he didn’t lose any money as his bank stepped in to raise concerns about the withdrawal.
The pensioner had also been contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer investigating counterfeit currency.
Nicole McIntyre, of the force’s economic crime unit, said: “It’s very worrying that these two victims have lost so much money.
“This type of offence is of great concern to us.
“Suspects are targeting elderly or vulnerable people.
“They sound genuine and gain the trust of the victims.
“The police or banks would not contact people in this way.
“If you get a call like this hang up,” she said.
“If you need to contact your bank to check wait five minutes as fraudsters can stay on the line even after you have hung up, or use a different line altogether.
“Your bank cards are yours and never let them be used by others.
“We are asking people to remain vigilant.
“If you have elderly neighbours or relatives who don’t access our website or social media sites please advise them of these incidents.
“Telephone companies can assist with call blocking technology to help restrict these types of calls,” said the police fraud expert.
“We would recommend that people talk this through with their vulnerable or elderly family and friends to help prevent this activity.
“At times the fraudsters use local taxi firms to transport potential victims to their banks.
“We would ask taxi companies to be mindful of this and if they have any suspicions to contact the police immediately.
“Further advice about the scam can be found on the Action Fraud website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/courier-fraud and the steps people can take to protect themselves.”