Police are urging householders to be on their guard following incidents of a phone fraud where unsuspecting victims are duped by people posing as police.
In the latest incident on Tuesday, an elderly man from Paignton was duped out of £12,000 by someone posing as a police officer from the Metropolitan Police who claimed that someone had been arrested in possession of his bank cards.
This follows another incident in North Devon in March when a Bideford couple were duped out of more than £30,000 by people posing as police.
Someone claiming to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police phoned the retired couple saying that they had arrested someone in possession of the woman’s bank card.
The bogus officer asked the woman to immediately phone the bank but when the call was made the conman kept the line open, pretended to be the bank and confirmed large-scale fraudulent activity on her account.
He told her that her account was being used fraudulently by bank staff and she should withdraw the cash and send it to him as evidence.
They realised something was wrong when the bogus officers failed to turn up to an agreed appointment at their home. They then reported the offence to Devon and Cornwall Police.
Detective Constable Dave Major said: “This is a despicable fraud with the offenders targeting elderly and vulnerable people who are trusting and were willing to help who they thought was a bona fide police officer.
“We would urge people to be aware of this scam and not to go along with it. The police would not phone members of the public in this way and we would ask anyone who is contacted by these people to phone police and report it straight away.”
Detective Inspector Praveen Naidoo added: “This is a national problem and it is important to note that police officers will never ask you for your bank details or to send money to them.”
Anyone with information can contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.