AN elderly man has been left £600 out of pocket after he fell victim to a phone scam which sees fraudsters pose as members of the police.
It comes as police renew calls for people in North Devon to be extra vigilant following a spate of fake phone calls, with nine reported incidents in the past three weeks.
Sergeant Paul Jones said the incidents were “particularly sickening and cruel”, with fraudsters specifically targeting the elderly.
The con artists, who often pose as members of Hammersmith Police, attempt to trick victims in one of two ways.
The first sees the fraudsters tell the victims that one of their grandchildren has been arrested – requesting the direct transfer of money for bail, often thousands of pounds. Another con sees victims told their grandchild has been siphoning money from their bank account, urging them to contact their bank.
After keeping the line open to the victims, the fraudsters then pose as members of the respective bank, taking details directly from the victim.
Sergeant Jones said: “It’s a particularly sickening and cruel crime. As the offenders always seem to target the elderly.
“We are just asking people to be aware of this scheme. We would also encourage anybody to discuss this with elderly relatives.”
One elderly man from Barnstaple was recently conned out of £600, and was only prevented from transferring more money to the fraudsters when cashiers at his local bank questioned him about the transfer.
Sergeant Jones said anyone who receives a suspicious call should call police on 101.