Islington woman warns others about scammers’ tactics after losing thousands in phone con
PUBLISHED: 13:23 20 July 2020
An Islington woman who lost thousands in a scam is speaking up to warn others of the tactics involved.
The resident, who would like to remain anonymous, was tricked into handing over thousands in pounds and euros over two days by a man on the phone who pretended to be a policeman.
Calling himself Detective Andy Stones from Hammersmith police station, the conman initially called the victim on her landline and told her the police had arrested two people in Wembley who were trying to fraudulently buy items with her card.
In order to gain her trust, so-called Detective Stones gave over a false ID number and encouraged her to call 999 or 101 and verify his legitimacy.
However, even when she disconnected to do so, the scammers stayed on the line and pretended to answer the phone when she called back.
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Now deceived, she was persuaded to withdraw cash in the bank and Post Office and hand over large sums of money for a made-up investigation into counterfeit money.
The scam artist made sure she lied to staff when they asked about the large withdrawal by claiming they were also under investigation.
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“It was a form of grooming,” the victim said. “I was in conversation with an individual, of whom I asked questions, even saying ‘I’m beginning to think I’m involved in a scam, here’.
“Answers for everything, of course. I wasn’t talking to the police as an organisation, I had a personal relationship with the guy to whom I was talking.”
In hindsight, she said, clues the story was a fabrication included the mention of Marylebone Magistrates Court, which no longer exists.
She only realised it was a scam when she independently called 101 to be updated about the fake investigation.
The victim said she is raising awareness of this scam to warn others about the false phone disconnection tactics.
A spokesperson from the Met Police said enquiries about the incident are continuing and no arrests have been made.
They said: “Telephone scams are a common way for criminals to try to defraud people of their money.
“Police will never telephone you to ask for your bank details, or to ask you to withdraw cash.”
Report fraud or get advice about cyber crime by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
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