Police warning after man, 78, loses £143,000 to scammers

AN elderly man lost £143,000 after becoming the victim of a scam, police have revealed.

Hampshire Police is urging residents in the New Forest area and beyond to remain vigilant following five reports of courier fraud since the start of September – including the elderly victim.

On Tuesday, September 19, the 78-year-old man received a call informing him he had been the victim of a financial investment – and had lost money.

The suspect told the victim he would be able to recover their money, but could only do so after the victim transferred a total of £143,000 over a period of four months.

This money was then transferred via Binance – a cryptocurrency exchange service. The victim was also asked by the suspect to confirm their name and address.

The same day, an 84-year-old man received a call from someone purporting to be a police officer, who told the victim that two of his grandchildren had been caught with a cloned credit card.

They asked for his name, number and other personal details. Some details were passed, before the suspect then ended the call.

Then, on Wednesday, September 20, a 69-year-old woman received a call from someone claiming to be from their bank’s fraud department.

The caller told the victim they had detected suspicious activity on her account and that accounts had been set up in her name.

The victim confirmed she hadn’t set up the accounts, before the suspect asked her to transfer money to their account in order to protect it. Two transactions were completed and more than £1,000 was lost.

READ MORE: Man in his 80s loses £15,000 to phone scammers

And on Monday, September 4, it was reported an 82-year-old woman had received a phone call from someone falsely claiming to be from Microsoft, who said her computer was at risk and the issue needed to be fixed.

The caller felt this was a genuine call, as they had been having some problems with their computer.

They were asked to download Any Desk – a remote desktop application – which they did, allowing the suspect to gain remote access to their computer.

The victim was asked for their bank details, but quickly became suspicious and terminated the call.

“The five reports of courier fraud in the New Forest recently have resulted in elderly victims losing thousands of pounds,” a police spokesperson said.

“We are urging people not to engage with these type of calls. Victims are typically elderly, as in these cases, and we are asking anyone with an elderly relative, loved one, friend or associate to please make them aware of this type of scam.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to police on 101 and, if a crime is in progress, dial 999.

For more details on scams and how to protect yourself, visit the Action Fraud website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

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