Police are investigating after an elderly Rye couple in Rye lost £13,000 when a bogus caller pretended to be a police officer and got them to withdraw cash from their accounts.
On 25 June the man phoned them, claiming to be from the 'Metropolitan Police fraud squad'.
Over the next six days he convinced them to go twice to a bank and withdraw a total of £13,000, telling them it was necessary as part of an investigation into fraud within their own bank's HQ in London.
On each occasion one of the couple then had to go to locations near their homes and hand the cash to someone driving a van.
Only when family members visited and overheard one of the phone calls was the fraud stopped.
Detective Constable Sam Collyer said: "Remember - no police officer, or bank staff on the phone, will ever ask for your bank details or for cash. Don't give your details or cash to anyone in these circumstances!
See these top tips to help stop this type of fraud;
- Act with care if you get an unsolicited phone call
- Never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller – even if they tell you the account is in your name
- Always check your phone line has properly disconnected before making another call – try calling a good friend first, wait 5 minutes or use a different phone
- Never share your PIN number or enter your PIN into a telephone
- Never withdraw money and hand it to a courier or a police officer
- Never give your bank cards to a courier or anyone who comes to your door
For further advice and information on preventing this type of fraud, see the Sussex Police website here
For further advice on fraud prevention, and information on Operation Signature, the work done by Sussex Police to prevent fraud and support victims, also see the force website here.
An agreement between police and banks is also helping prevent some of these crimes. In June this year alone 38 attempts to get unwary residents to withdraw cash in Sussex were foiled by alert bank staff who became suspicious of the circumstances, saving losses that would have totalled £144,000.