Phone scam thieves net £39,000 in a month as 11 people in Essex are tricked

PUBLISHED: 09:59 07 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:59 07 April 2014

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Detectives are continuing to urge residents across Essex to be constantly on guard against telephone fraudsters after 140 people were contacted during March.

In 11 of those incidents, victims were tricked into handing over a total of £39,000. In one other case a man was tricked into handing over his bank cards but a taxi driver sent to collect them realised it was a scam and police were called.

The incidents where victims were tricked out cards or cards during March happened in the Steeple Bumpstead area (two incidents) Saffron Walden, Leigh, Benfleet, Southend, Waltham Abbey, Chelmsford, Harlow, Stanford-le-Hope and Dedham. The incident where a taxi driver foiled the fraud happened at Loughton.

In all cases the caller claimed to be either a detective from either the Metropolitan Police or Essex Police. Similar false names were used by the callers but their stories varied from claims that their victims’ bank cards had been cloned to claims that suspects had been arrested in possession of stolen bank cards.

More than 750 similar thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since the scam first came to light in January 2013, and similar crimes have been reported in the Met Police area and other counties.

More than 100 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £355,000. Six people have been arrested in connection with the investigation.

REMEMBER

• Police or bank officials would never call you by telephone you and ask for your full bank details or ask you to withdraw large sums of cash.

• If you think you have been a victim, call police FROM A DIFFERENT NUMBER.

• If you don’t have another phone, use a neighbour’s, or wait five minutes before dialling 101 or 999 (if urgent).

Police are advising people to contact any elderly relatives and friends to warn them of this scam.

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