Worthing woman, 87, almost loses thousands of pounds to fraudster

A Worthing pensioner almost lost thousands of pounds after falling prey to a fraudster.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:10 pm

According to Sussex Police, the 87-year-old Worthing woman was contacted by phone on February 23 by someone pretending to be from her bank.

She was given a convoluted story about a fraud that had caused £10,000 to be taken out of her account. Police said she was told by the fraudster that some money had been put back in, but not the entire amount.

She was told to take out £6,500 in cash and, if the bank staff were suspicious, to tell them the money was ‘for her grandchildren.

Police (stock image). Steve Robards

The fraudster then asked for her address and said a courier would pick up the money later that evening.

Thankfully, the would-be victim told her friend about the call, who became suspicious and called the police. No money was lost.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, said: “Criminals continue to exploit people through this appalling method and we are urging the public to be cautious of unexpected phone calls from people asking for personal information.

“If you have an older family member, we urge you to talk them through these tips for keeping safe from these courier frauds.”

Courier frauds are when a fraudster calls the victim pretending to be from the police or a bank and asks for money under false pretences.

As with the Worthing woman’s experience, they will arrange for someone to pick up the money from the victim’s home and in some cases involve taking the victim’s bank card and withdrawing money from their account.

Police received over 24 reports of courier fraud in West Sussex in February alone, with £2,000 being the average loss.

To protect yourself from courier fraud, police advise you follow the below steps:

- Act with care if you get an unsolicited call

- The police or your bank will never ask you to withdraw money or hand over your bank cards

- Never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller – even if they tell you that the account is in your name

- Always check your phone line has properly disconnected before making another call – wait five minutes after the suspicious call before making another

- Never share your PIN number or enter your PIN into a telephone

- Never withdraw money and hand it to a courier or anyone who comes to your door

- Never give your bank cards to a courier or anyone who comes to your door.

Please pass this advice onto your loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable.

If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, you can report information via our website or by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

For more information and advice about fraud, visit the Sussex Police website