Police warning after Horsham resident defrauded of £100,000
Main article content
Police are warning West Sussex residents to be aware of bogus phone callers after a vulnerable victim of courier fraud from Horsham was scammed out of more than £100,000 by fraudsters pretending to be a police officers.
Posing as a police officer, a fraudster contacted the 84-year-old victim on Saturday 19 February, claiming that she had been the subject of fraudulent activity and needed to forensically analyse the bank notes from her account.
They asked the victim to withdraw around £18,000 and wrap it in newspaper, which would then be collected by a courier who would ask for a password before receiving the package.
Later, the victim was asked to purchase a Rolex watch worth around £40,000 and two gold bullion bars from a website.
However the gold bullion website blocked the first payment and although processing the second attempt, also alerted police to the potential scam.
As the courier was collecting the bullion he was arrested by officers.
Detective Constable Thomas Hawkins said: “This is a truly shocking crime which preys on some of the most vulnerable members of our community who genuinely believe they are speaking with a police officer.
"We fear this person may not be the only one who will have fallen victim to this scam and we are urging anyone who thinks they may have gone through a similar experience to contact us. It is important to reiterate that no police force would ever ask you to withdraw money from an account. If someone claiming to be a police officer asks you withdraw money, call 999 immediately.”
A 17-year-old boy from Tower Hamlets, East London was arrested on suspicion of a fraud by false representation. After being interviewed he was released on conditional police bail until 24 March.
The investigation is continuing and officers believe there could be more people who have fallen victim to a similar type of scam, and would like them to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police either online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Pound.
For further information and advice on how to protect yourselves and those around you, from this and similar types of fraud, see Operation Signature at the Sussex Police website