Fraud Warning After Hampshire Woman Loses £200k

31 May 2016, 11:59

Hampshire Police are warning people after a woman was conned out of more than £200,000.

The 75-year-old, from the New Forest, was tricked into handing the money over to criminals, who phoned up pretending to be from her bank. The victim was deceived into making a number of transfers or withdrawals totalling more than £200,000 on a number of occasions between February and May 2016.

She was tricked into believing she was speaking on the phone to employees of the Halifax fraud squad who told her there had been fraudulent activity on her bank account and asked her to follow their instructions to help them to catch those responsible. She was convinced to make cash withdrawals and told the money would be collected from her home address. She was also asked on occasions to transfer money into another bank account.

Detective Constable Dave Wheeler said: 

"The victim in this case is understandably very upset and shocked by what has happened to her. Often victims are left feeling embarrassed and ashamed that they have fallen for these scams but the fraudsters can be very convincing and will prey on those who they consider to be potentially vulnerable.

"We want to warn residents that these requests are not genuine and that no police officer or bank would operate in this manner. Anyone who receives a suspicious call is urged not to give any details to the caller and report the matter to the police immediately.

"Any courier companies or taxi drivers that may have been asked to pick up such packages in the area are also urged to report this to police.

"If you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam and remind them not to give any details to unexpected callers. Remain alert and if you see them being approached by unexpected visitors please check who they are and ensure they are a legitimate caller."

People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:
- Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
- If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up the call and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check. Call them back from a different phone if possible or wait at least 10 minutes before making the call.
- If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
- Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
- If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make a note of their identification number. Ask them to wait while you verify their identity. Close the door and call 101.

Anyone who is concerned about similar incidents should contact police by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, please call 999.