An 80-year-old victim has described how she was targeted by a heartless scammer impersonating a police officer.
The scam has seen fraudsters calling vulnerable people in recent weeks, often elderly, and claiming to be an officer investigating fraud. They then ask the victim to withdraw cash from their bank.
The name DC Smith of Hammersmith Police has been repeatedly used in Lincolnshire.
One Lincoln village victim, identified by police as Jackie, 80, was targeted last week.
The scammer kept her talking for over an hour. He told her that the force had arrested some individuals in connection with credit card fraud. He added 25 cards had been recovered and Jackie’s card was amongst them.
The man claiming to be an officer went on to say that staff in the bank had been corrupted and that they were part of this fraud.
He said that Jackie’s help would be key to helping them disrupt this fraud and arrest those responsible.
Jackie was told to go to the bank to withdraw £5,000 to put a block on her account.
He told her that the corrupt staff in the bank would give her fake notes and that they would then be able to get the fingerprints of those responsible.
If Jackie didn’t do this, the fraudster told her, then her money would be at risk and the police would not be able to disrupt this gang.
Jackie was coached in what to say in the bank and told to take her phone with her, keeping the line open so he could hear everything that happened.
She explained that the panic she felt prevented her from thinking clearly but she knew that something was not quite right with the story.
Thankfully, alarm bells had been ringing during the conversation and she dialled 999.
The fraudster, still on the other line, asked Jackie what she was doing and why she was not trusting him now. Jackie told him she wanted to verify the crime number.
Within seconds of that 999 call, Jackie was told by the call taker “this is a scam, hang up immediately.”
She said: “I just want to assist the police to make everyone aware of how professional these scams can be. I’m now concerned for all the other people out there who may succumb to this or any other scam.
“They have no conscience or care about the effect they have on the lives of their targets, who are mainly elderly and on their own.
“They need punishing – so let’s get this message across clearly. They will not win. We have all worked hard for a living, what makes them feel they can make their living from others’ hard earned cash?”
Lincolnshire Police are asking everyone to help spread this message and to report any incidents so a clear picture can be drawn of the scale of the problem.