September 21 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 25, 2014
A man has been charged in connection with a major investigation into a telephone scam which has hit the Uttlesford area.
Abu Syed, 18 was arrested in east London by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit’s phone scam taskforce, which is investigating hundreds of thefts and attempted thefts from elderly or vulnerable people.
Syed was arrested when officers executed a search warrant at his home in Nathanial Close, Whitechapel on Monday, July 21.
He was later charged with fraud by false representation in connection with an incident at Buckhurst Hill on February, 27 2013 when a man was tricked into handing over £5,000.
Syed, who was also charged with possessing heroin with intent to supply and possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, July 22. He was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court in August.
The ERSOU taskforce was formed to investigate hundreds of frauds and attempted frauds being carried out across East Anglia.
Elderly or vulnerable people were being targeted by thieves who posed as police officers or bank staff who told their victims that their bank accounts had been infiltrated by thieves.
The tricksters claimed that as part of their investigations they needed to do forensic tests of the victim’s bank cards and PIN numbers or large amounts of cash to be used for forensic tests.
More than 780 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 120 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £400,000.
Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence who leads the ERSOU phone scam taskforce said: “These warrants further show how we are continuing to make the region a hostile place for anyone suspected of being involved in phone scams, which often target elderly and vulnerable people.
“Whether the crimes appear old we will find those responsible and relentlessly pursue them.
“Whilst we are continuing to make arrests, I would remind people to remain aware that phone scams are still operating across the region. As it does tend to be the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted by the offenders, please share the following advice with neighbours and relatives.
“If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101. Remember to use a mobile phone or a friend’s phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender.
“Please also remember that your bank and the police would:
• NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone.
• NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them.
• NEVER ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property.”