Police are urging residents in the Rother area to be wary after an 82-year-old man was tricked into handing over his cash card and account details to someone claiming to work for his bank.
The victim was phoned at his home in Wykeham Road, Hastings, at about midday on Tuesday January 13 by a man who claimed to be from his bank and said his debit card needed to be replaced.
The pensioner was tricked into giving his account details over the phone and was then told to give his debit card to a courier who arrived at his door.
The courier then left with the card, which was used shortly afterwards to make purchases worth more than £1400.
The courier is described as a black man in his late 20s or early 30s who was tall and of average build. He was dressed in green and yellow clothing and may have worn a bobble hat.
Later that day a similar attempt was made at a home in Beaufort Road, St Leonards, but the resident in that case saw through the scam.
There has been a recent rise in reports of this type of crime although more people who have fallen victim to this deception may have been put off calling the police because they feel embarrassed. Please be reassured that we do want to know about these matters and your call may help to prevent another person being a victim of this well practiced con.
Detective Inspector Gavin Patch said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address.
“Never give out your bank details or hand over your bank cards to someone who has contacted you in this way.
“If you have any suspicions, please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank, in case the offenders are still on the line.
“If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, contact a friend or relative to alert them or wait for at least half-an-hour before trying to ring.
“If you have elderly or vulnerable friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam as well so that they do not become a victim.
“The offenders are preying on the vulnerability of people to steal hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds from them and we are determined to catch those responsible.”
If you know anything about the scams or those involved, email email@example.com quoting Operation Edisto, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.