Sompting couple defrauded out of thousands in ‘mean’ con

Police want to trace this man in connection with a scam which tricked a Sompting couple. SUS-140923-164210001
Police want to trace this man in connection with a scam which tricked a Sompting couple. SUS-140923-164210001

A SOMPTING couple lost thousands of pounds after falling victim to a phone scam last week (Tuesday, September 16).

A man, claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police, rang the couple’s home to report ‘fraudulent transactions’ on their bank account.

He then asked if they would assist with an undercover operation to expose forged bank notes being trafficked to dishonest bank staff.

A bogus courier was sent to their house and the couple handed over the money.

Detective Constable Paul Tonks said: “This was an elaborate and convoluted con trick that must have required at least three people to pull it off.

“As in previous attempts across the county, some of which have been successful, the trick has been to convince the victims that they were phoning the police or their bank.

“They do this be remaining on the phone after they have called the victim, who then thinks they are making a new call to the police or bank that is ‘answered’ either by the original caller or an accomplice.

The courier is described as white, in his early 20s, between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 7ins, of small build, a pale complexion, mid-brown wavy hair and ‘childlike’ features.

He was dressed scruffily in casual clothing that included a dark round-necked T-shirt and a knitted grey cardigan with a large collar.

Police have issued an e-fit of the man, pictured above.

DC Tonks added: “It is a mean crime, invariably targeted at more vulnerable and trusting members of the public. We would like to hear from anyone who may have been the target of a similar scam or indeed, has become a victim. Please call us on 101 quoting serial 1643 of 16/09.”

A police spokesman issued advice about scams, urging residents to call police if they were suspicious.

They said: “Police or bank staff will never ask you for PIN numbers or send a courier to your house to collect bank cards or cash.

“If you have any doubts about a caller who asks you to ring back, either use another phone to call or leave it for half-an-hour or so before doing so. “You’ll find correct contact details for your bank on correspondence or statements and the police can always be called on 101, no matter where you are in the country.

“If you think you are being targeted, use a different phone and dial 999 immediately.”