Scam letter alert over fears residents are being targeted

A councillor was targeted by a Chinese letter scam which may have cost one elderly couple their life savings.

Cllr Richard Greening, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, was sent a letter from a fake Chinese business, requesting his account details for a transfer of funds.

Cllr Greening called the authorities straight after receiving the letter, but police warn many people could have lost cash to the crooks.

Sgt Rob O’Conner said: “Believe it or not people do fall for this – quite often it’s the vulnerable. I remember one case where an elderly couple had invested �40,000 in it before they came to us.

“By that time it was too late – the money had gone to an offshore bank account in a false name and we couldn’t do anything.

“The sad thing was they were investing the money to give their son a better future, but they lost everything. We want to make people aware – if something looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam so call the police before you start giving away your money.”

Cllr Greening said: “My concern is that they have written to other residents.

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“It’s one of the more credible looking examples of these types of scam I have seen.

“The fact that they are sending them by post means older residents, who might not have heard of this kind of thing before, are vulnerable to it.

“People’s feelings of personal security are impacted because they have managed to get hold of their contact details.”

The letter promises a 25 per cent cut of �20million profits for a business transaction that requires money to be transferred into a UK account.

However, police say once bank account details are transferred, the fraudsters would be able to complete their scam and empty the account.

On investigation of previous scams, the company names are found to be bogus and none of the names on the letter could be traced.

Cllr Greening added: “The people doing this are criminals, trying to make profit at the expense of vulnerable people.

“It’s important that as many people as possible know what is going on so they can avoid being caught out.”