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Detectives issue a warning after elderly victim defrauded of significant amount of money

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Police

The following article was taken from the Merseyside Police website. The original article can be read at the following link:

www.merseyside.police.uk/news/merseyside/news/2019/december/detectives-issue-a-warning-after-elderly-victim-defrauded-of-significant-amount-of-money

Detectives are appealing for information after an 84-year-old lady from Southport is defrauded of several thousand pounds by people posing as police officers.

The victim, was contacted on the phone by a man posing as a police officer from London, who said he was investigating a fraud case and needed her assistance. He requested that the woman withdraw a significant amount of cash from her account and that someone would call for it later in the day. During the day the victim spoke to three different people on the phone – two men and a woman, who claimed to be working on the investigation.

Later in the day a man turned up at the pensioner’s home to collect the cash. He is described as a black male, around 18 to 19 years old, approximately 5ft 10in tall, dressed in a black bomber jacket and dark coloured jeans. He had an afro style hair cut that was around 6 inches in length.

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson, said: “I would like to reassure people that incidents like these are comparatively rare but when they do happen they can have a big effect on the victims.

“Offenders are usually very plausible and can pose as a range of officials, not just police officers. However, any genuine official would never call people over the phone and ask them to withdraw money from a bank account. If anyone does, never give out any personal details and never hand anything over.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson, added: “We are also working with the banks and I know their staff are on the lookout for suspicious transactions or anyone who they believe may be the target of offences such as these. The offenders are extremely cunning and tell victims not to divulge why they want the money. Being alert and getting to the bottom of these reasons could stop them becoming victims.”

Merseyside Police is also issuing the following crime prevention advice in relation to people who call at your door, including any people posing as officials. Taking these simple steps could prevent you, or your family, becoming victims:
• Remember to close and lock the back door before answering the front door
• Always ask to see the identification of the person calling
• If you are in any doubt about the identification shown, phone the company they claim to represent and check – don’t use the phone number they give you, look in the phone book for it
• Ask the person to wait outside while you check and never leave your front door open while you do so
• If the caller claims to be from an electricity, gas or water company, ask them to quote your customer reference number. A genuine caller from these utility companies will have that information
• If the caller claims to be from the police he/she should have a warrant card and this can be checked by calling Merseyside Police on 101
• If the caller leaves and you are still unsure about their credibility, write down the details of the person and the registration number and type and colour of vehicle if you know it and contact us on 101
• For extra security and peace of mind, fit a viewer or spy hole and a strong chain to your door

Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have information which could help them with their inquiries to call them. If you have information contact @MERPOLCC, or call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 0927 of 20 December 2019.

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