Police warn residents following spate of fraud offences
Officers are warning Sussex residents to be alert after a number have fallen victim to fraud where offenders have pretended to be police officers.
Between 9 May and 16 May police received six reports from across Brighton and Hove, which we are linking together. The victims received a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer, saying that they are carrying out an investigation into bank clerks at local branches. The caller goes on to instruct the victim to go to the bank and withdraw money, and then to return home where a Police Officer will stop-by to collect the money for forensic investigations.
Two of those contacted did not hand over any cash, realising this was fraud but four of the victims unfortunately did. An 83-year-old woman gave £5,890, an 83-year-old man handed over £7,500, a third man aged 85 handed over £4,500 and an 87-year-old man gave the suspects £5,000.
Following an operation on Thursday, 18 May officers in Brighton and Hove arrested an 18-year-old man from London on suspicion of fraud by false representation. He remains in police custody as of Friday afternoon.
These offences follow on from another incident that took place in Chichester earlier in the month during which an 85-year-old woman handed over £12,500 to scammers using exactly the same methods.
Detective Inspector Andy Wolstenholme said: "The police would never contact people and ask them to withdraw or hand over cash to officers. The people carrying out these frauds are deliberately targeting those they think are vulnerable, so please do look out for your friends, family and anyone you feel may be at risk by passing out this message, to help prevent further people falling victim to this type of fraud.
“If ever you doubt a telephone caller is genuine, simply hang up the phone. If speaking to callers at the door, always ask for ID and satisfy yourself that it is genuine before dealing with that person.
"We want to hear from you if you have received similar calls to these mentioned above or have any information which could help our investigation. Descriptions of those who have attended to collect money differ. You can contact police by calling us on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Signature."