Warning after fraudsters target vulnerable elderly across Midhurst and Petworth

Policeman on the beat on Midhurst
Policeman on the beat on Midhurst

Residents across the Midhurst and Petworth area are being warned after a number of scam attempts.

In three reported attempt scam calls last week (December 3), a male caller perpetrating to be from the Met Police calling himself ‘DC Ian Taylor’ said he was investigating a fraud involving credit and debit cards.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Luckily the calls were terminated and reported to the police and no money was taken.

“The caller stated he was from a cyber crime unit in the Met and had a male in custody with the resident’s bank details on his laptop. The caller then requested £8,000 was transferred into a holding account.”

In response to the crimes, police have launched ‘Operation Edisto’.

“This is a fraud that mainly targets the elderly and vulnerable in our communities of Sussex,” added a spokesman.

“These scams are becoming increasingly common and it is our aim to ensure everyone and especially the elderly, vulnerable or those living alone are aware of these types of fraud and the steps to take to ensure they do not become a victim.”

Fraudsters call the intended victim posing as police officers or bank staff, telling them their card details have been ‘fraudulently used’ and they need to act urgently to protect themselves. The callers then suggest they hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure the call is genuine.

However, callers stay on the line and pretend to be the police or the bank, telling the intended victim to key in or read out their PIN number.

They then send a courier to collect the bank card. With this and the PIN they have full access to their victim’s money.

Police say ‘variations’ on this method include asking the victim to assist in a police investigation.

People are advised to end such calls immediately and wait at least five minutes before making any calls.

Anyone who has received similar calls or know someone who has been a victim is asked to contact Sussex Police via 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Edisto.

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