Police warning over new telephone scam

(Last Updated On: January 9, 2015)

Devon and Cornwall Police have been investigating telephone frauds in which criminals convince members of the public to part with thousands of pounds in cash. The victims are called at random.

Various stories have been used and police say that the latest involved a Jewellery shop in Torbay.

In December, a victim was persuaded to purchase a Rolex watch from a jeweller in the Torbay area. The victim attended the jeweller’s shop in person. They were being ‘controlled’ by the fraudster who was speaking to them on their mobile phone. At one point the fraudster spoke directly to the jeweller on the victim’s mobile phone.

After purchase, the Rolex watch was collected from the victim by a ‘courier’. Eventually, the watch will have been handed over to the fraudster who lives miles away from Devon and Cornwall.

Jewellers are asked to make staff aware of this latest ploy. If you are suspicious about any transactions please call 999 as there could be a very vulnerable victim involved.

The tell tale signs are the age of the victim, sometimes a call to the jeweller by the fraudster prior to the victim attending (confirming a specific watch is in stock) and the victim paying little interest in the watch but merely purchasing it when in store.

Detective Chief Inspector for Devon and Cornwall, John Shuttleworth, said: “This is a new kind of telephone scam. We ask members of the public to remain vigilant and be aware that fraudsters may attempt to obtain money, jewellery or, indeed, other high value goods in this way.

“We are advising jewellery shop owners and staff to keep a look out for elderly people who may enter their shops to purchase high value items and who are being coerced.

“We continue to make progress in apprehending suspects. If in doubt about a phone call, people should hang up and report any information they have to police.”

Most of the victims are elderly and have been convinced that the fraudster is calling from the bank or even from the police.

The public is asked to remain vigilant and make elderly friends and relatives aware of this type of fraud.

If you receive a phone call of this nature, police advise you to:
•End the phone call immediately. Wait at least five minutes to clear the line from the scammer before making any other calls, or use another phone.
•Report the offence as soon as possible to police by telephoning 101 or by emailing 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk.

Anyone with any information about this fraud can contact police on 101, quoting Op Fardel.

For further information or help visit: : http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/crime-prevention/your-money/fraud/courier-and-telephone-fraud/

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