Elderly woman falls victim to telephone scam

An elderly Fairlight woman has fallen victim to a phone scam that resulted in her handing over bank cards to a man who called at her door on Tuesday evening.

The woman was called around 8pm by a man claiming to be from Paddington police station in London.

He told her that there had been fraudulent activity on her bank cards and told her to contact her bank for advice.

She put the phone down and rang the number for her bank, but unknown to her the man had stayed on the line, took her card details and then told her that a courier would call to collect the cards.

Around 11pm, a young man collected the cards and they were then used to withdraw cash from machines in Western Road and Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, around 12.30am.

The suspect is described as aged 16-20, 5’ 6”, of tanned, possible Asian appearance, with black hair and lots of facial stubble. He was wearing casual clothing and spoke with a local accent.

The theft followed four previous unsuccessful attempts at a similar scam in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea between 6.15pm and 8.30pm and it is possible that others went unreported to police.

Detective Inspector Rob Morland said: “This is a heartless scam that is invariably aimed at more vulnerable members of our community who are most likely to trust that someone claiming to represent the police or their bank.

“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 in this manner.

“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 ten 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.