Warning after elderly Heaton couple scammed out of £5,000 by fraudsters posing as police officers

Vulnerable pensioners have been targeted on their own doorstep by fraudsters
Vulnerable pensioners have been targeted on their own doorstep by fraudsters -Credit:handout

Detectives are warning residents to be vigilant after an elderly couple were conned into handing over thousands of pounds in cash to fraudsters who were posing as police officers.

It is reported that the vulnerable victims, from Heaton, were tricked into handing over £5,000 of their own money on Thursday, April 25, after receiving a phone call from a man purporting to be from a police force outside their local area. The caller said they were investigating corruption at a bank the couple use and needed the victims to withdraw £5,000 so that the bank notes could be examined.

The person then introduced another man on the phone call, saying that he was a Chief Superintendent. The couple were then asked to go to a bank to make the withdrawal and when they returned home, two men visited their address and took the cash.

Northumbria Police have launched a full investigation into the report of courier fraud and several lines of enquiry are being followed up. And now officers are calling on the friends and families of those with elderly relatives to remind them that if they do receive a call they believe is suspicious, do not provide any personal details and immediately hang up and report it.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Henry, of Northumbria Police, said: "This type of fraud is particularly awful as it sees offenders deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and preying on their fears. Fraudsters are experts at targeting and manipulating victims by posing as convincing employees of a company or organisation, which often panics people into making quick decisions.

"We would urge everyone to assume that all cold calls are not genuine. No reputable organisational will be offended should you choose to check details or facts so that you can verify their call is correct and proper.

"For those with vulnerable or elderly relatives or friends, we'd ask that you please take a little bit of time to speak to them so that they are aware of these type of scams, as this means there is a greater chance they will be aware of the tactics these criminals use to gain the trust of their targets.

"If you are in doubt about a call or email from an individual or organisation purporting to be your bank which you feel may not be genuine, visit a branch or call a number shown on an official statement. Please do not provide any information or hand over cash or bank cards to anyone who you do not know."

For further help and advice, or to report fraud, visit the Action Fraud website or call 0300 123 2040. Always call 999 if someone is on their way to your house to collect money and/or valuable items.