An elderly couple have been tricked out of more than £2,000 by fraudsters.
The Grantham couple, who do not wish to be named, were contacted on Saturday by a man claiming to be a policeman.
Fraudsters who have been tricking people across Lincolnshire into handing over their bank cards targeted Grantham residents last weekend with at least four reported cases.
The couple are aged 80 and 75. They were tricked into handing over £1,000 in cash, which they were told was made up of fake bank notes, and their bank card which was later used to take out £1,200 in four lots of £300.
The couple’s daughter Diane Horton said: “I am disgusted. They are targeting the eldery. My father is really poorly and this is not going to help him.”
The couple have had the £1,200 taken from their account refunded by their bank, but Diane does not think they will back get the £1,000 they gave to the fraudster.
Police are asking people to warn, in particular, elderly friends and relatives and to raise awareness of the courier scam technique through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The first step of the scam involves the victim being contacted on their landline by a man identifying himself as a police officer, usually from Birmingham or London.
To appear legitimate, the caller will give a name and collar number of a real police officer, before saying that police have someone in custody who has made a fraudulent transaction on the victim’s card.
After being told to contact their bank ASAP, the victim will put the phone down but the offender will not, hence keeping the line open.
Consequently the offender is able to pretend that they are the victim’s bank, and then ask personal questions. The offender will keep the victim on the phone for one to two hours before informing them that they will send a courier around to collect the card to ensure it is disposed of.
This courier will arrive at the victim’s address to collect the bank card. Finally, this is used immediately to withdraw and make transactions of between £1,500 to £2,000.
The police are co-ordinating an overview of all offences. This is being overseen by PC Steve Parker, who said: “I have spoken to a number of forces and they have said that we need to get on top of this because from their experience, they have a few incidents and then it ‘explodes’ in their county once the offenders realise they can get something from the area.”
Police are urging residents to call 101 with details of incidents, as well as reminding them that banks would never send a courier to home addresses to collect bank cards, nor ask for PIN numbers.
They also advise those who think they have given details to the fraudsters, to call their bank and cancel their cards immediately, and to do so from another telephone. Details at www.actionfraud.police.uk