Police issue fresh warning after telephone scammers con elderly Stevenage victims out of thousands of pounds

The daughter of a widow duped into handing £5,000 over to scammers said it's left the 93-year-old fe

The daughter of a widow duped into handing £5,000 over to scammers said it's left the 93-year-old feeling frightened and vulnerable. - Credit: Daniel WIlson

People in Stevenage are being urged to be vigilant after a spate of phone scams conned elderly victims out of thousands of pounds.

There have been eight offences in the town reported to police since March 18, and in four of the cases, money was handed over.

Yesterday’s most recent incident saw a 93-year-old woman duped into handing over £5,000. Last week, an 82-year-old man was conned out of £7,500.

In two other cases, victims handed over £5,000 and £7,000 respectively.

In most of the scams, a woman contacts victims over the telephone and claims to be a police officer, either a DC Bailey or DC Joanna Parker, from Hammersmith Police Station.

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The caller then says that police have detained two men in possession of the victim’s bank cards and, in some cases, states these men have claimed to be the victim’s grandchildren.

The caller then advises them of problems with their local bank handing out fake money and asks the victims to go to the bank, withdraw money and then give it to a courier working on behalf of the caller.

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On the last two occasions, the courier has been dressed in motorcycling gear.

During some of the calls, the female offender has also handed the phone over to a man who said he was DC Connor.

Det Insp Luke Whinnett said: “Phone scams can have a devastating effect on the victims, as people often lose vast sums of money as well as their confidence and trust.

“While most people recognise these scams for what they are, unfortunately, these callers can be very convincing and some people do fall victim to them.

“If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation, please end the call and contact police on 101.

“Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender,” he added.

Police are appealing for anyone else who thinks they may have been a victim of a similar scam to contact Operation Manhunt – a specialist unit set up to investigate distraction burglary, frauds and other crimes against the elderly on 101.

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