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Harlow residents warned about bogus ‘police officers’

Essex Police appeal for assistance in relation to local burglaries.The Harlow Star recently reported that Essex police have warned local residents about a spate of crimes. Over recent days, five reports have been made regarding thieves pretending to be genuine police officers. Unfortunately, in one case, money  and valuables were obtained by deception.

The offence occurred just after 6pm on 6th March. An 88 year old woman had been contacted by telephone. A female had rung the victim and stated that two boys had stolen £300 from her account and had been arrested for it. The woman then asked the victim if she was still in possession of her bank card. After confirming that indeed she did still have her card, the victim was ‘transferred’ to a man claiming to be from CID. The male fraudster informed the elderly lady that the ‘police’ would need to see the card in order to check it and that a courier will come and collect it from her home address.

DC Leo Fordham, a member of the Harlow CID team informs us …

“The victim did not disclose her address and the man stayed on the line for some time before telling her that someone had arrived at her house. The man who took the card is described as tanned, with loose curly hair, around 5ft 6in tall and was wearing a shirt and dark trousers”

“The man claiming to be a detective then called back a short time later and told the victim that she needed to give her cash and jewellery to police for safe keeping. The same man came around again and was given £160 in cash and £200 of jewellery.”

DC Fordham then explained that following yet another call to the 88 year old victim, claiming that their would be another visit to collect a different bank card, the lady rang the real Essex Police and so the crime was uncovered.

The local Police have asked people to share the following advice with anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Particularly the elderly and more vulnerable members of society, as this is who these thieves are targeting.

The Police and also your bank would NEVER request ….

  • Money to be sent to them – PLEASE DO NOT SEND/GIVE OUT CASH
  • Send your bank card to them – PLEASE DO NOT SEND/GIVE OUT YOUR CARD
  • Ask for all of your bank account details and/or PIN over the phone – PLEASE DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY ACCOUNT DETAILS/PIN OVER THE PHONE.

Call the Police non-emergency number 101 for help regarding any of the issues above. If it is in relation to a suspicious call then please leave at least 5 minutes before trying to call off the same phone unit. That way you are far less likely to be reconnected with the fraudster. Better still, use a mobile or neighbour’s phone and ring the police from there.

With thanks to Dave Conner for the use of the Essex Police badge under the Creative Commons attribution 2.0.

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