A 65-year-old Northiam man has lost £8,000 after falling victim to a sophisticated telephone scam.
The man believed he was transferring his money into a new safe account, when in fact he was passing details that enabled fraudsters to steal his money.
The man was called on Wednesday March 19 by a woman claiming to be from Visa security. She told him that there had been fraudulent activity on his account.
When the victim appeared suspicious, the caller advised him to ring the number shown on his bank card in order to convince him that the call was genuine.
He did this and believed he was in touch with his bank. After discussions which he described as “completely plausible”, the victim was advised the safest option was to open a new account and he then proceeded to give details to facilitate this.
But it is thought the fraudsters had kept the line open after their initial call - a subterfuge easily achieved yet which many are unaware of - and then pretended to be the bank in order to glean the information they needed to empty his account.
Similar scams have recently been reported in the Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea area.
Fraudsters sometimes send a ‘courier’ purporting to be from the bank to collect what the victim believes to be his or her compromised debit card. Access is then gained to the account and cash stolen.
Detective Inspector Rob Morland said such scams were heartless and often targeted trusting or vulnerable members of society.
He stressed: “Whatever someone is told, under no circumstances would the police or a bank request your PIN number or personal details over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address, as has happened in some instances.
“Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited. If you have any suspicions please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank.
“If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it or to contact a friend to relative to alert them. If you are unable to do this, then delay calling back by at least 10 minutes.
“I urge anyone reading or hearing this message to pass it on to any friends and relatives who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud, to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.
“We want to encourage everyone to continue to resist these callers, so if you have any information, whether you have received similar calls or know someone who has been a victim of this crime, contact Sussex Police via 101 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Edisto.
For on-line advice on fraud prevention, go to www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/fraud,-scams-and-financial-issues/what-can-i-do-to-prevent-fraud.