Scammers 'so genuine and clever', warns attempted victim (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Police say 'courier fraud' is becoming more widespread and particularly targets the elderly
Sophisticated scammers are clever enough to fool anyone, according to a woman who was on the brink of losing nearly £10,000 to a ploy.
Monique Elton, of Endlebury Road, Chingford, received a call this month from a man identifying himself as a Detective Sergeant from Salford Police Station, Greater Manchester, wanting to confirm her bank details.
Claiming a fictitious criminal was potentially planning to steal money from her, she transferred £9,000 to an account allegedly set up by police where it would be safe until the ‘criminal’ was arrested.
Police say this type of incident, known as ‘courier fraud’, is becoming more common and usually targets the elderly.
Mrs Elton said: “The whole scam was clever, I worry that other people might fall victim.
“I wasn’t sure what to do when somebody rang and said ‘I am a detective’, so although I had doubts and asked him questions he was so clever and genuine.”
The caller told the 75-year-old that police had arrested a different man and a search of his home had revealed a list of 15 people’s bank information, including Mrs Elton’s.
He said someone at the bank had sold the details to criminals who could potentially steal her money.
Claiming that this person had been identified but that he was on holiday he said her money was not safe in its current account until he was arrested upon return.
“Sad to say I fell for it,” Mrs Elton said.
“But the nagging doubts that had been in my mind all the time increased and after some effort I managed to get through to the Greater Manchester and Salford police stations and there was nobody of that name.”
Mrs Elton's money has been safely returned.
A police spokesman said banks and police will never ask for an individual’s PIN, bank card, or for a person to withdraw or transfer money.
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