Warning over bogus police in Gravesend after elderly couple lose thousands in slick ‘courier fraud’
PUBLISHED: 15:58 13 January 2020
Police in Gravesend are warning people to be aware that fraudsters pretending to be police officers have been operating in the town.
On December 30 a couple from the Riverview Park area received a call from a fake London policeman.
He said officers had noticed fraudulent activity on their credit card and had made arrests.
The couple, in their 70s, were then made to provide mobile phone numbers and drive to numerous banks and cash machines withdrawing large amounts of money under the pretence it was a covert operation.
The couple were told they should give all the cash to someone who would call at their home.
A man described as Asian, in his early 20s, around 5ft 9ins tall and wearing a plain black tracksuit arrived in a black Citroen car, collected the money and left.
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On January 2 the victims were told to get more money and confirm when it could be collected. No one ever arrived to collect the extra money and when the couple called Kent Police to follow it up, the scam was uncovered.
Detectives from the Volume Fraud Team at Kent Police are now investigating the incident and are urging other residents to be on guard against such scams.
Det Sgt Marc Cananur said: "Courier fraud is the name given to incidents where fraudsters attempt to deceive victims into withdrawing sums of money with the intention of sending a courier to collect it from them.
"Variations on the scam involve people claiming to be from Trading Standards, a local bank or other organisations such as the police in a position of trust.
"It is extremely upsetting and confusing for victims when they realise they have been targeted as in nearly all cases the fraudsters can seem highly credible.
"We will never send a courier to your home to collect your bank card, money or other items and will never ask for cash, valuables, or your PIN. Banks won't do this either and so it is very important that you report anything suspicious to Kent Police immediately."
Action Fraud is on 0300 123 2040, and the 0olice line is 101.