Officers are appealing for information to identify a man they’d like to speak to in relation to a large cash fraud carried out on a pensioner in Swindon.
On Tuesday 19 September a woman in her eighties, who lives in the Lawn area of the town, was contacted by phone by a man claiming to be a Detective Smyth who was investigating a gang who had been using the woman’s bank card.
He asked her to remain on the line until she heard a buzz and then to dial 161 and she would be put through to the Serious Fraud Office.
She was then asked to go to her bank and building society and withdraw £9,000 in cash so his officers could fingerprint the money.
As the man was so convincing – she went to the bank and building society, managing to take out just over £5,500 that day by saying the money was for home improvements and a new car.
Later that day a man called Mochin came to the victim’s house and collected the cash in a sack.
An e-fit of the man police would like to speak to and who is suspected of going to the victim’s home is attached.
He’s described as having light tanned skin, 5 ft 8 inches tall, average build, in his late 20s/early 30s with something on his head; he was wearing a black anorak and the sack had some orange banding on it.
PC Jack Newman said: “We would like to speak to anyone who recognises this man or may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the Lawn area on this date.
“I’d like to remind the public to be cautious when receiving calls from anyone – including the police. We will never ask for bank details over the phone, nor will we ask for passwords or your PIN. Always be wary when asked to withdraw large sums of money.
“This is commonly known as courier fraud and is a ‘social engineering’ scam designed to trick you – using elaborate and highly convincing methods to panic a victim and exploit human nature.
“If the caller claims they are a police officer or police staff, ring the police on 101 and check the details first. Take time to check as it could save you losing money or having your identity stolen.”
If you receive a call of this nature, please record as much detail as possible and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the online reporting tool www.actionfraud.police.uk.