A pensioner was nearly conned out of thousands by a man purporting to be a policeman based at Hammersmith station .
The Met is investigating two elaborate courier fraud scams which targeted elderly victims and has issued an image of a man they would like to trace and speak to in connection with these incidents.
The first victim lost her life savings in the scam, while the second victim, an 85-year-old woman, was about to hand over £5,000 when she was stopped by a concerned neighbour.
In both cases, the suspect contacted his victims pretending to be a police officer investigating a fraud at their bank and asked the victim to help assist the investigation to catch the perpetrators by withdrawing significant sums of money.
The first incident happened on March 27 and saw a 73-year-old from east London receive a call on her mobile phone from a man who said he was a police officer investigating a debit card fraud.
He instructed the victim to buy 5,000 Euros and a watch costing more than £25,000 as part of an elaborate plot to catch the perpetrators of the fraud.
A courier then attended the victim’s address and collected the items.
Nearly three weeks later on April 19, the 85-year-old victim received a telephone call at her home in Clapham from a unknown male who said he was a police officer based in Hammersmith .
The caller told the woman that he was investigating a serious fraud at her bank and had two suspects in custody.
He explained that two members of bank staff were under suspicion and he asked the victim to attend a court hearing at Woolwich Crown Court the following day and appear as a witness. The victim was confused and agreed to the request.
She was asked to go to her bank and withdraw £5,000 which she did. The suspect waited on the phone while she did this.
As she returned from the bank, the victim told her neighbour about the telephone call she had with the suspect.
The neighbour quizzed the courier when he arrived at around 5.15pm the same day to collect the money, and advised the victim not to hand over the money and the courier left empty-handed.
Police say the man they want to speak to is Asian, about 5ft 8ins tall and aged in his 20s.
DC Michael Esangbedo of Southwark CID said the victims of both offences “elderly and vulnerable”.
“We would urge anyone who recognises the man pictured to get in touch with police,” he said.
“I would like to remind the public that police will never call members of the public and ask them to withdraw money, or take part in a police ‘sting’ operation, and anyone with suspicions about such requests should call 101 right away.
“Our team is liaising with officers from Operation Falcon who investigate fraud and financial crime to ensure all resources are being directed into solving this case.”
Hammersmith Police station is currently closed for major refurbishment (see video below).
Anyone who recognises the man in the photo or anyone with information should contact Southwark CID on 101 or @MetCC.
Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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