Detectives investigating after Stafford couple conned out of thousands of pounds
Main article content
Detectives are investigating after an elderly couple from Stafford were conned out of thousands of pounds by people pretending to be police officers.
At some time on Friday (18 December), an elderly woman from Stafford answered a call and spoke to a person who said they worked for Greater Manchester Police. They said they were investigating after another person claimed they were caring for an elderly couple at that address. In order to facilitate the enquiry, the caller said they would need the woman to pay for it.
When the woman questioned this, she was told to call 192 and she would get through to the fraud squad of Greater Manchester Police.
The victims then visited their banks and building societies around Stafford and in total withdrew a large quantity of cash. The caller had requested £50 notes and when the woman called back they asked her for the serial numbers of some of the notes.
The woman was then asked to put the cash in a clear plastic bag and a black man posing as a police officer arrived at their house to collect it. It is not known whether they arrived in a vehicle or by foot, or whether he was dressed in uniform or posing as an undercover officer.
Detective Inspector Steve Ward, from the force’s Fraud and Financial Investigations team, said: “Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to transfer or withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords. Staffordshire police do not use this number to contact anybody as it is for calls into Staffordshire police only.”
“If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer, hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police on 101, as scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back. If you don’t have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.
“Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.”
It follows a recent incident where a 38-year-old man from Stoke-on-Trent was contacted by a woman claiming to be a PC Michelle Green using a spoofed phone number - this is where a criminal uses technology to make it look like they are calling from an existing phone number. The number displayed on the victim’s phone was Staffordshire Police’s back-up number 0300 123 4455. The woman asked him to transfer the money and that he could collect a cheque for the amount by attending a police station the next day.
Anyone with any information should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter quoting incident number 12 of 19 December, call 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.