£19,000 has been stolen from nine people in the last month

Phone scammers operating in district

Phone scammers operating in district

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A phone scam which has plagued the district for more than a year has seen another £19,000 stolen from people in Epping Forest.

Last month three people in Waltham Abbey, two in Buckhurst Hill, and one in Epping were among the victims targeted by conmen.

Other incidents were reported in Harlow and Little Hallingbury.

In January 2013 dozens of cases were reported to police, with more victims coming forward throughout the year.

Despite efforts to make people aware, residents in the district are still being targeted.

In all of the cases the victims were telephoned by callers posing as police, bank officials or shop staff and were told their bank cards had been used fraudulently.

All of the victims were told that their bank cards or cash from their accounts was needed for forensic examination by police.

Taxi firms or couriers were then sent to victims’ homes to collect the cash or cards.

In some cases the victims were asked to pay up to £40 for the cost of cabs.

More than 600 thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since January 2013, with more than £309,000 being stolen.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the investigation.

DS Neil Hudson said: "It is vital that everyone is always on guard against any telephone callers claiming to be from the police or a bank and asking you to send them money.

"If that happens, put the phone down, wait a few minutes until you get a dialling tone and call Essex Police to report it.

"Some of the tricksters call their intended targets several times in an attempt to convince them, that they are genuine callers.

"One trick is to ask people to call back or to call their bank to verify claims that their accounts have been infiltrated. But they stay on the line and when the victim thinks they are starting a fresh call the same tricksters claim to be at a police station or a bank.”

Police are asking people to let their vulnerable neighbours and relatives know that officers will never ask for a pin number.

If you receive a call then phone police from a different phone.

Anyone who has been targeted should call police.

Anyone with information about the thieves should contact the Operation Seaford team at Grays on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

 

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