An elderly woman in East Grinstead has been targeted by bank card fraudsters.
The woman, in her 80s, was telephoned yesterday afternoon (Monday September 2) by a man claiming to be from her local branch of Lloyds.
He told her that there was a problem with her cards and they would be collected.
She queried this, but was assured that they were losing money and that this would quickly rectify the problem.
A man then called at her house and collected a debit and a credit card.
She did not allow him in, but she was persuaded to reveal her PIN numbers.
Soon after, two men tried to purchase a large quantity of alcohol and cigarettes at a convenience shop in the town and also used the cards to withdraw £300 each time from the cash machines at Lloyds in London Road and at Sainsbury’s stores in East Grinstead and Purley. The credit card was used to purchase petrol in Blindley Heath in Surrey.
Later that day, the debit card was used in an attempt to withdraw £3,500 from an ATM in Croydon, but was retained by the machine.
Sergeant Graeme Prentice said: “This really is a despicable crime that played upon the victim’s vulnerability and trust. We are linking it to a similar attempted fraud in East Grinstead earlier in the day and the description of one of the two men who tried unsuccessfully to buy the alcohol and cigarettes matches that of the one who called at the house and collected the cards.
“We are determined to find these men and would welcome any information that will enable us to do so. In the meantime, if you have elderly or vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours, please warn them of this scam. No bank will ever send anyone to collect your cards, neither will they ask for your PIN number over the phone. Refuse to tell them, put the phone down and call the police.”
The man who called said his name was Kevin and the fraudulent courier who called to collect the cards is described as of mixed race, aged 18-19, 5ft 10in, with slick black hair, a small black moustache and wearing casual shirt and trousers. He was seen with the second man who is also described as mixed race and in his early 20s.
Anyone who saw the men, has any information about the incidents or has been a victim of an attempt themselves is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 or e-mail email@example.com quoting serial 1131 of 02/09.