POLICE are urging people to be vigilant after fraudsters conned two elderly men out of five-figure sums of money.
Officers received two separate reports from elderly residents in the Darlington and Neville’s Cross area in Durham, who had been contacted by conmen purporting to be detectives from the Met Police.
During both calls, the men were told their credit cards had been used by people in London, and that they must withdraw large sums of money from their bank, which would be collected from their homes by couriers.
The two victims, who are in their late sixties and eighties, each handed over around £20,000 to the conmen. The incidents were reported on September 5 and September 11, and officers believe the two to be linked.
Detective Inspector Craig Rudd, from Darlington CID, said: “This type of fraud is known as courier fraud, when fraudsters contact their victims by phone claiming to be a police officer, bank or other government department.
“They will then convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which is then passed on to a courier.
“These scammers are deplorable and will stop at nothing to make a criminal gain. They do not care who they hurt in the process, and often target elderly or vulnerable people.
“They can be extremely convincing and very persistent, which can blindside their victims into believing them before they take their hard-earned money.”
He added: “We would urge people to contact their family and friends, particularly if they are elderly, to warn them of these scams.
“The victims are understandably very distressed by what has happened, and we are doing everything we can to support them and to track down those responsible.
“We would like to hear from anyone who may have experienced a similar phone call in recent weeks.
Police officers or your bank will never ask you to hand over money.
If you receive a call like this do not interact with them - hang up and report it to us on 101, or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”
If you have any information that could help the investigation, please call Durham Constabulary on 101 quoting crime reference number CRI00291776.
Remember, your bank or the police will never:
• Ask you to transfer money out of your account
• Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping
• Send someone to your home to collect cash, PINs, cards or cheque books
• Phone and ask you for your full PIN of banking password