DCSIMG

Burgess Hill woman targeted in countywide scam

Crime

Crime

Police are issuing a fresh warning about fraudsters phoning elderly people and posing as police officers.

Gangs of fraudsters are targeting vulnerable members of the community and trying to trick them into handing over their bank account details or thousands of pounds in cash.

Sussex Police has received a series of reports about pensioners across the county being contacted by people claiming to work for other police forces and telling them they almost became the victim of bank fraud.

The gangs convince the victims to hang up the phone and call first the police control room to confirm what they are saying and then their bank.

What the victims do not know is that the fraudsters do not hang up the phone. Instead they pose as police officers and bank staff until they have the victim’s bank details.

A courier is then sent to the victim’s home to collect their bank card before they withdraw cash or the victim is asked to take out cash to give to the gang to keep safe.

There have been at least 20 attempts to trick vulnerable people out of money in the last week across Sussex.

At about midday the scam was tried on an 83-year-old woman in Burgess Hill. She withdrew £6,000 from her bank but then became suspicious, called Sussex Police and was convinced not to hand over any money.

Other attempts have been made in Crawley, Lindfield, Worthing, Crawley Down, Brighton and Copthorne.

Detective Inspector Rob Walker, of West Sussex CID, said: “These people are contacting residents who they believe to be vulnerable and trying to scare them into handing over bank details or cash.

“Some of the victims have only narrowly avoided handing over thousands of pounds to the gang.

“There could be others across the county who have been contacted or who have fallen victim to the gang but are too afraid or ashamed to come forward.

“Please contact us as we need your help to catch those responsible.

“We also need members of the community to be aware that this scam is going on so that they can intervene if they think someone has been duped by the gang.

“We would urge anyone who comes into contact with vulnerable people, including bank staff, taxi drivers and nurses, to contact us if they hear anything at all.”

If someone turns up at your home who you are suspicious about call 999 immediately.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Op Galvani, email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

 

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