Warning from couple in their 70s scammed out of £70,000 by fake police officer
A couple in their 70s have spoken out after they were conned out of £70,000 by a fraudster posing as a police officer. The grandparents say they are still traumatised by what happened to them.
They were phoned by someone claiming to be a police office. The caller said that somebody had attempted to use their bank cards.
The caller then advised them to withdraw and transfer money to a building society account in order to keep it “safe”, West Midlands Police said.
The couple, from Coventry, were then subjected to constant calls over a period of several weeks. A courier also went to the pensioners’ house five times to collect cash – the amount they were robbed of totalled in at £70,000, reports CoventryLive.
The victims said they were called three or four times a day. One caller claimed to be from the building society.
The grandfather, who asked to remain anonymous, said the amount of money withdrawn was what him and his wife had built up over 50 years.
“It caused so much stress,” he said. “Looking back you can’t believe how it happened, but whoever was claiming to be a police sergeant was so convincing.
“We were also contacted by a woman who claimed to be from the building society – who was clearly part of the scam – to reassure us we were doing the right thing so that made it even more believable. I was ill in bed at the time so a lot of it fell on my wife to withdraw the money which we’d built up over 50 years.”
The couple managed to get their money back after West Midlands Police worked with their bank. However, they were told they needed to buy a £13,000 Rolex to keep criminals away from accessing their savings and that cash could not be compensated.
“If we hadn’t got it back – and we’re grateful to everyone who helped us do so – as we would have had to sell the house and it would have ruined our lives,” the grandfather added.
His wife said: “We were told not to tell anyone else, so I even had to hide what was happening from the rest of the family, which really hurt. It was quite frightening being a pensioner and walking around with thousands of pounds in cash.
“When I was first told we’d been victims of fraud I just burst into tears and I was in tears all the time for weeks after. We had people we didn’t know keep coming to our house to collect the money, it’s been a really unsettling time. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we have.”
West Midlands Police said that fraud con artists scammed more than £310,000 from residents in its area in 2021, with 50 offences during the year. The force has said the most common courier frauds are:
- A fraudster claiming to be from your bank and saying your card is no longer valid. They ask for the pin number and then send a ‘courier’ to collect the card
- They claim to be police officers and ask you to help with an undercover operation by buying expensive items like watches, jewellery and gold. Once purchased you will hand over the item to the criminal.
- A con-artist claims to be a police or banking official and tells you they need to help with a banking corruption investigation. You’ll be told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to check for fingerprints or to identify counterfeit bank notes.
- The fraudster telephones you claiming to be from their internet service provider and following an issue with the connectivity and that you are entitled to compensation. You’ll be persuaded to download a remote access application, giving the criminal access to your home computers. The fraudster convinces you that you have been paid too much compensation and must withdraw cash to pay the money back for collection by a courier.
- We’re also aware of an new crime where you’re advised to withdraw foreign currency and a ‘plain clothed police officer’ or courier will collect it from their home or an agreed location.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, you should contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.